Background is a residential street out of focus. Center foreground in focus is a microphone with a furry cover, aimed at the street. The mic is mounted on a tripod with a small recorder.

Thunder Shower

July 18, 2014, is World Listening Day.

At around 18:00 dark clouds appeared, and we had a brief shower. When I heard thunder, I dashed out to my front parch with a microphone and a recorder. I missed a few loud claps of thunder, but I managed to record a few minutes of rain and thunder as the storm receded to the east.

Here is a link to the same recording on a map: radio aporee ::: maps – Takano, Ritto, Shiga Prefecture, Japan

Green bridge over a shallow river looking upstream with a mountain visible under bridge left of center.

Yasugawa Small Rapids

July 18, 2014, is World Listening Day.

In the morning I went to Shinjo-cho in Moriyama. The water level was very low, but I did some fishing and caught a few hasu. I also made a short field recording of small river rapids, a crow, a Japanese bush warbler, and other sounds.

Here is a link to the same recording on a map: radio aporee ::: maps – Shinjocho, Moriyama, Shiga Prefecture, Japan

Empty patch of land with reeds on either side.

Wind and Birds in Lower Yasugawa Reeds

Last year I bought an Audio-Technica BP2045 microphone for stereo soundscape recording. Last week I finally added a good windscreen, a Rycote Baby Ball Gag Windshield with a Windjammer, and a good shockmount and extension handle with a foam grip.

On Saturday, July 5, 2014, I rode to Shinjocho in Moriyama, about 7km from my home. Just upstream from Shinjo Ohashi (新庄大橋), where Shiga Route 48 crosses Yasugawa, the river is bordered by reeds. A patch had been cleared to launch rafts for the Yasugawa Adventure Tournament on June 29th, so I had easy access to the river and the reeds (map).

Shallow river with reed beds on both sides. Mountains dark clouds in the background

Yasugawa and Mikamiyama from Shinjo Ohashi (新庄大橋) on July 5, 2014

Heavy clouds were approaching quickly, but I was able to make a short audio recording with the microphone held chest-high in the reeds. We can hear wind, birds, trucks on the nearby bridge, kids playing in a nearby playground (笠原運動公園), and, as usual, airplanes flying overhead. It’s noisy, but I think it accurately documents the sonic environment here, and I’m happy to know that I can record the wind blowing through something other than the microphone.

Yasugawa in Moriyama near Tanaka Concrete

Lower Yasugawa Sounds

On 1 July 2014 I rode my bike about 7km down Yasugawa and recorded insects, birds, and a lot of low frequency noise from machinery and aircraft. Six minutes of my recording can be heard on SoundCloud. Listen with good headphones or speakers to hear the low frequencies.

This location along the river is near a large concrete plant. Sometimes the plant is very noisy, with conveyor belts, a rock crusher, and dump trucks and mixer trucks coming and going, but today it seemed fairly quiet. The noise that we hear is from other machinery, airplanes, and maybe large boats on Lake Biwa, a few kilometers from here.

I decided to leave the recording as-is, with no equalization or other processing to alter the sound. I don’t think people “hear” the low frequency noises. Even I don’t notice it unless I’m tuned in to the environment. This recording is a reminder that the countryside around here is not at all quiet.

Nevertheless, this is a great place for all kinds of birds and bugs. It’s between parks and playgrounds, and there is a lot of vegetation. The road on the embankment is closed to cars, so there is not much human activity within a few hundred meters. Some of the flying creatures that we can hear on the recording were also buzzing around my head, even though I moved away from the recorder and stood on the gravel road near my bicycle. Considering its proximity to farms, factories, and houses, it’s a pretty wild place.

Trek 520 Touring Bike at Yasugawa in Moriyama

Trek 520 Touring Bike at Yasugawa in Moriyama

Yasugawa Rafting in Moriyama, 2014-06-29, looking upstream.

Yasukawa Rafting in Moriyama

Moriyama City held its 33rd annual Yasugawa Adventure Tournament on June 29, 2014. I did not know about the event, but as I was cycling down Yasugawa in the morning I saw dozens of hand-built rafts slowly floating down the river from just above the Shiga Route 48 bridge to a few hundred meters below the Japan Route 477 bridge.

The Moriyama City Fire Department monitored the event, but one of the volunteers, a man about my age, told me that they didn’t have much to do. He’d been worried as it had rained the previous night. The river can grow dramatically after a heavy rain, but today it was very shallow for this season.

The current was very slow. People walking along the riverbank easily kept pace with the rafts. Many of the people on the rafts were paddling, a few were rowing, and some were pushing their rafts as they waded. I heard a lot of talking and laughter, but near the finish line the participants looked pretty tired. About a dozen people were watching from the Japan Route 477 bridge, sometimes waving and shouting encouragement to those who were floating down the river below.

After I got home I found an announcement of the event. It shows the starting point on an embedded map: 第33回野洲川冒険大会~いかだくだり~参加者募集~-新庄大橋上流スタート-.