I am currently reading Akira Kurosawa’s “Something like an Autobiography”,


lingering at his “Boyhood” phase,  each paragraph is a rich visual feast, a  breathless journey into a magical landscape as captured by a little boy who was  a slow learner who loved kendo and painting. I, particularly, terminated myself at this chapter…

“The Fragrance of Meiji, the sounds of Taisho”…the master-crafter took all of us back to the days of his boyhood, a mystical world of sounds that does not exist anymore

 {Akira Kurosawa}“….the sounds I used to listen to as a boy are completely different from those of today. …everything was natural sounds. Among those natural sounds were many that are lost forever. Among those natural sounds were many that are lost forever. I will try to recall some of them. The resounding boom of midday. This was the sound of the cannon at the Kudan Ushi-ga-fuchi army barracks, which fired a blank each day precisely at noon.

The fire-alarm bell. The sound of the fire-watchman’s wooden clappers. The sound of his voice and the drumbeats when he informed the neighborhood of the location of a fire.   The tofu-seller’s bugle. The whistle of the tobacco-pipe repairman. The sound of the lock on the hard-candy vendor’s chest of drawers. The tinkle of the wind-chime seller’s wares. The drumbeats of the man who repaired the thongs of wooden clogs. The bells of iterant monks chanting sutras. The candy seller’s drum. The fire-truck bell. The big drum for the lion dance. The monkey trainer’s drum. The drum for temple services. The freshwater-clam vendor. The natto fermented-bean seller. The hot-red-pepper vendor. The goldfish vendor. The man who sold bamboo clothesline poles. The seedling vendor. The night-time noodle vendor. The oden (dumplings-and-broth) vendor. The baked-sweet-potato vendor. The scissors grinder. The tinker. The morning-glory seller. The fishmonger. The sardine vendor. The boiled bean seller. The insect vendor. “Magotaro bugs!” The humming of kite strings. The click of kite strings. The click of battledore and shuttlecock. Songs you sing while bouncing a ball. Children’s songs.

These lost sounds are all impossible to separate from my boyhood memories….when I saw the child of the freshwater-clam vendor, who raised a pitiful wail to sell his goods, I felt fortunate in my own lot in life…Children of today probably wont be able to fashion very rich memories from these sounds. Perhaps they are more to be pitied than even that freshwater-clam seller’s child…”

 (Jyo….The influence of each word was so intense that I ran down a specific memory lane when I was so scared of fire-alarms (every summer, I was the first one in my family to raise an alarm about the houses struggling under fire, in our neighborhood. Every monsoon, I stood on a dry place, with tears-stained face, feeling helpless and small, observed my parents shifting our belongings to a safer place)