Jul 29, 2016
The Sounds of Summer
I like learning the animal sounds or ‘giseigo’ in Japanese, so here are a few of the summer animal/insect sounds.
Frogs (kaeru / カエル) say ケロケロ or ゲロゲロ (kero kero or gero gero)
This spring, I was kept up at night by strange sounding frogs, confused that they sounded more like monkeys or what you hear in films about Africa. I got used to it within a week or two, then the number of noises declined a little after the rainy season ended. We could see reddish frog eggs in the rice fields and then sometimes tadpoles and tiny new frogs swimming in the shallow water.
Cicadas (semi / せみ) say ミンミン (min min)
Then the cicadas started up in July. I like to describe the sound of semi as tiny motorcycles. This starts up after the sunrise and the air warms up a little and continues into the evening. They are great at waking us up in the morning if we aren’t already up early with the sun. When I’m close to trees I need to cover my ears sometimes because they can be so loud. Cicadas are the loudest insects and use a hallow chamber in their bodies like an amplifier to make their song louder.
Sometimes we hear them flying around, into walls and windows. Crazy buggers. I was recently asked by a neighbor to help sweep up a dead cicada. I guess a lot of people are scared of them. They're harmless but can play dead and move unexpectedly.
Cicadas are interesting creatures – after years underground, they come above ground and only live for around a week. After male cicadas sing their song One Time, they die. Yet we hear them All Summer. There are so many of them.
Crickets (suzumushi / 鈴虫) say リンリン (rin rin)
In the late summer and fall, crickets come out to play. They have a bell sound (suzumushi = bell bug) which has not yet been captured, as it is not even August yet.
Edit: I can hear a lone cricket rin-rin-ing right now, in late July.
Now you can talk with the animals in Japanese.