A metropolis like Tokyo immediately leads to great sounds, noises, chaos and noise pollution.
But for me Tokyo is also silence. Of course, not in an absolute sense, but there is great respect for the timbres of others. On the train, one against the other, at the limits of the tolerable human being, nobody speaks: it will be the sleep, but there is a tendency to make the compulsory movement towards the workplace, at least bearable at an acoustic level. The ringing of mobile phones are banned from the wagons (it is required several times to put them in airplane mode, the signs that invite them to do so are everywhere), you can’t talk on the phone, no voice messages, even a chat is often badly seen, in a sort of peace of tinnitus that almost compensates for the non-existent living space.
Even in the halls of the great palaces, where marble acts as a sounding board, a certain vocal control is required, in hospitals, in some restaurants, without counting the temples: places that are of sound peace and that alternatively propose a book, a manga, the recovery of the morning news.
The voice tone is used here with an expression marker: in fact, while in a normal discourse between friends, the tone of the voice is kept by imperceptible decibels, the exclamations are often outside this silent score and stand out. Like in manga, where the expressions of amazement, surprise and fear are highlighted with the use of caps + lock, so it is in everyday conversations. Very curious and certainly amusing for the friends who come to visit me are the noisy ramen cooks and sushi bars who, on arrival and after having finished lunch or dinner, are expressed in thanks with volumes that are anything but quiet , aimed at fully expressing their gratitude to a customer who has chosen their restaurant. Another sound gem, but I admit to be a bit annoying for me at least, are the salesmen of the various corners in the countless shopping malls that try to attract customers to their brand, in a whirlwind of voices and volumes that produce the opposite effect in me: the escape.
Instead, the characterization of the metro stops is very useful and fun: each stop has its own jingle that helps children, disabled and distracted (like me and the ever-present asleep in the trains) to recognize the stop in question, thus avoiding to skip it or lose a coincidence. Of course, sometimes, it doesn’t work, but when I happened to have continued my race, I took the opportunity to learn new songs in stations where I had never been (and incidentally, where I can’t go back).
A separate chapter deserves the jingles of the shops (usually perfumeries and appliances, very famous and very catchy that of Yodobashi Camera in Akihabara) that echo in volumes in Dolby Sorround on the streets, even the most peaceful, and accompany you in all purchases, becoming a refrain that I assure you will no longer take it off your head. I believe that the choice to characterize the places for sounds and not for images lies in the fact that if an image can not be seen, with the head perennially immersed in mobile phones, a sound or a music will enter the eardrums of the unfortunates regardless of their want. Also in Akihabara, for trained eardrums, you will find it very amusing to wander around the game rooms whose video games will manage to confuse their sounds with the exclamations of victory or sadness of their customers, and will lead you to new worlds and levels of decibels never reached before where talking to your friend will be a challenge.
In short, to conclude, as always this city reveals everything and its opposite to me, it manages to be a peaceful oasis in contexts where we are used to chaos, and then surprises you in an overdose of sounds to confuse every sense, paying the overwhelmed by an immense necessity to be recognized in a sea full of proposals of all kinds.