Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Festival of Insects (English translation of Post on 11th Oct)

I went back home in Japan last week.
I could not stay long, and it was a rushing journey, but it was quite fulfilling.
It has been such a long time, almost 20 years, since I went back to Japan at the autumn time when osmanthus blossoms are in full bloom.
The beautiful Japanese autumn view deeply stroke me everywhere I went.

I tend to unnecessarily idealize things in Japan, and that can can be quite common between Japanese who have lived abroad for a long period of time. I often find myself trying to look at only the bright side of Japan.
This is because I am inclined to judge things through the past memories when I was little in my hometown, so it sometimes mistakenly leads me to overestimation of Japan.

Though this time, Japanese autumn was much more beautiful than the one in my memory - sweet scent of osmanthus blossoms, Japanese walnuts dropped in the shrine garden, the clear high blue sky, the smell of the wind... deeply touched my heart.

Especially, the sound of insects from the garden at night.
Why the sound of insects at autumn night have totally different atmosphere to the one of cicadas in summer?

There are insects with good sounds both in Thailand and U.K., but not as many kinds as in Japan for definite.
On the top of it, I have realised for the first time that regardless the fact that many kinds of insects are singing (Japanese love to use this expression when talking of autumn insects) all at once, it sounds so wonderful in harmony.

Which kind of insects make what kind of noise?

Please visit this website, Mushi No Ne (Sound of Insects).
These insects are categorized under an insect called crickets in English language - suzu-mushi (bell-ring crickets),  matsu-mushi, enma-koorogi (similar to cricket found in Thailand), kantan, kutsuwa-mushi (a noisy-cricket), yamato-suzu, kirigirisu, umaoi, and so on.

To discover there is such a website for Japanese is already amazing for foreigners, isn't it?

Nowadays, a toy that you can listen to insects' sounds is available in department stores, but it cannot be in substitution of insects  in a grassy place at autumn dark night with the cool fresh wind blowing.
Because that atmosphere leads our mind to something called the transience of life, which has occupied the core of Japanese people's heart over 1,000 years.

In China, people play a cricket fighting.
Villagers take their own crickets and let them fight on a little stage.
It can be quite exciting for the cricket owners as it is a gambling, and the winner can earn a great amount of money.
It is more like a beetle fighting that children play in summer holiday in Japan, but the concept is essentially different to the one enjoying the sound of insects in Japan.

The beautiful sound is not the only reason why Japanese have special affection to crickets, but also the transience of life is felt through the crickets in autumn.
Crickets sing love songs so beautifully for a few weeks looking for a partner, and they die quietly at the corner of the garden the end of autumn season.
The beautiful sound of crickets, the changing season and the transience of life make the sound even more beautiful and attractive.

Autumn is the season before winter, which means this is the last time this year to see the flowers, greens, little insects as in winter, everything seems to "stop life".
Not much colour is found in the garden, snow can cover everything in some areas in Japan during winter.
Japanese people's delicate sensibilities captured the sound of crickets, and listening to them, many Japanese feel a sense of wistfulness and ephemera.

Fujifabric's "Festival of Insects" is a masterpiece that this kind of sensibility is applied into.

'The insects (crickets) outside the room   sounds so merry ironically'

In Meiji Era, insects for beautiful sounds were put in little bamboo baskets and sold in a temple festival.
Patrick Lafcadio Hearn (1850 - 1904), also known as Koizumi Yakumo, describes the scene at the festival in his unique fantastic way in the essay, "Mushi No Ongakuka" (Insect Musicians).
Crickets in bamboo baskets put in a row on stands in a merry-making festival...
It was thought to be so Fujifabric-like, but in fact that was deeply connected in Japan since old days.

Listening to the sound of insects in the room where "I " was left alone.
It is just like the insects sing a song expressing "my" lonely heart.

'the insects outside the room   sounds as brightly as fireworks'

I will write about fireworks in details later in a post, but fireworks have special meanings to Japanese.

Fireworks exploding brightly in the night sky.
Sparkling for a few moments so beautifully... tonight "I"can feel the same from the sound of insects.
The sound is blurred, flickering, jumping, tied, open, close, and slowly falling.

"My" heart is exactly like that, and we are totally helpless.
This is the core of Fujifabric's music - an empathy towards things.

This song, "Festival of Insects" is coupled with "Reddish Yellow Osmanthus" in the 3rd single CD.
There might be some of you who have listened to this song for the first time in FAB BOX, but this is a masterpiece indeed.
I wish many more people have an opportunity to listen to this song which is full of Japanese beauty.

Fujifabric Festival of Insects

No comments: