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

Published by Greg Peterson

Professor Emeritus, Kyoto Notre Dame University (1977-2020). Since 1980 I have lived in Shiga Prefecture, Japan, where I enjoy outdoor activities, especially photography, hiking, and cycling.

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