On Sunday, April 19, 2015, I took a mid-afternoon mountain bike ride along the north side of Yasugawa from the Japan Route 8 bridge up to the Meishin Expressway. Near the river an unused dirt road runs through a bamboo grove before it becomes a single path just downriver from the Meishin Expressway. It had rained in the morning, the sky was overcast, and there was little wind.

In the bamboo grove I recorded a Japanese bush warbler (uguisu, 鶯), a pheasant (kiji, キジ), and some crows (karasu, カラス). With no motor vehicles on that road and no farm machinery in nearby fields, it was relatively quiet. I applied a high-pass filter to reduce the rumble of traffic on the Meishin Expressway and Japan Route 1 just across the river. A ten-minute portion of the recording is on SoundCloud.

The same recording can be heard at radio aporee ::: maps – Minamizakura, Yasu City, Shiga Prefecture, Japan. The satellite view on Google Maps is also several years old, but this location looks about the same as it did when the images were made.

While the recorder was running, I quietly walked back along the road. At the edge of the bamboo on the north side a few wild Japanese irises were blooming.

Japanese iris, ハナショウブ(花菖蒲、Iris ensata var. ensata)

Later I recorded another Japanese bush warbler at the upriver end of the grove. The crows were quieter, but nearby traffic on the Meishin Expressway was pretty noisy. As I was recording, I heard an off-road motorcycle along the river.

Off-road motorcycle along Yasugawa

That single motorcycle dominated the soundscape and persuaded me to quit recording and just enjoy my bike ride.

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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