Tokyo archive 04

This melody…what a blessing it was in the first years here in Tokyo. I called it the ‚going home song‘ but, among foreigners just mention the 5 o‘clock bells and everyone should know. In Japanese you‘d call the melody, which is played every day at exactly 5pm 5時のチャイム (go ji no chaimu) or 5時のベル (go ji no beru). Kids, playing outside are told by their parents that when they hear the melody, it‘s time to go home. If everyone sticks to it, it really makes a parent’s life easier. The actual reason for this melody which is played from loudspeakers usually situated at local parks and playgrounds, is to test the speakers so they will definitely work for public announcements during an emergency situation, such as an earthquake, tsunami or typhoon. Each ward has its own melody which can cause a bit of a headache if you are living right at the border of two wards and hear two different melodies very loudly, simultaneously. The melody filmed in the video is Tokyo‘s Minato Ward 5 o‘clock bell version which will always remind me of our time living here, I am sure.

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