Akihabara is one of the portraits of modernity and technological advancements of Japan post World War II. It was so closely associated with electronic stores, that Akihabara got the nickname Akihabara Electric Town. At night Akihabara was a totally different world compare to the meditative natural scenery in rural areas in Japan. Based on my observation during this soundscape research, I felt like Japan had many faces that were all totally committed in other words they went all in. Japan had parks which beauty would have you drift away in serenity. Like the park in Ryoanji Zen shrine, Kyoto which was very meditative. On the other hand, Japan also had its’ modernity side to it as one of the most advanced country in Asia complete with all its’ sound universe. Like sounds from billboards of big stores, the sound of announcements, the everyday hustle and bustle at the train stations, and many more. It felt like a paradox.
After world war II Japan became a pioneer in technology, innovations, an industrial nation and upper class producer. Since experiencing this blast in modernity (which its’ cultural ideology embryo had been formed since the Meiji restoration) cities in Japan had become so glamorous with all its’ advancement and hustle and bustle. Particularly Tokyo, and especially in this recording was Akihabara, one of the areas for electronic stores which was so popular and successful in the 90s. Even though Akibahara’s prestige had diminished, as so Japan’s economy which was in the midst of weaken economy but still this area gave off a particular atmosphere. Stores in Akihabara sell various electronic devices, from a complete computer with all its’ accessory, video games, anime, manga, and not to be left out maid cafe with all the women in cute costumes.
Akihabara at night, when the lights at those big stores started to illuminate brightly, sounds were also cheering. Sounds from billboards, Japanese pop and rock music from the stores, sounds of Pachinko Parlour, sounds of anime, sounds of crowds of people passing by looking for entertainment, and many more. Just listen. The sounds in Akihabara was truly unique and it felt like a celebration ritual. They (these sounds) had reflected and celebrated Japans’ modernity!
(Nb: also listen to the “Pachinko Parlour Akihabara” recording)