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The min min sound of summer

One of the quintessential Japanese summer sounds is the cicada chorus coming from the greenery of the local park on a hot, humid day.  Ever wondered what the creatures that make that min min sound look like?  I got close enough to a cicada (semi 蝉) to find out that they’re not exactly tiny.  Nor are they the most beautiful of creatures to admire.

cicada

The cicadas start off in life as a pupae looking thing, from which they emerge, leaving their old skins behind to wither where they crawled out of them.  I remember playing with the discarded cicada cases as a kid and using them to scare the girls.  I wonder if Japanese boys do that too… (Maybe they’re too busy raising their kabuto-mushi – helmet beetles – which remain a very popular summer-time activity for children.)

cicada shell

To my ears, the sound Japanese cicadas make is a little less of the screech screech that I’m used to back in Australia, and a bit more of a softer jii jii or min min.  But when there’s a chorus of them, they can still make a real din.  Here’s a (low quality) recording of the semi in Hibiya Park at lunchtime today.  The cicadas in Japan flit around as well – I was dive-bombed by a few when eating my bento on the park bench.

3 Comments

  1. JapanSoc says:

    Cicadas – quintessential sound (screech) of summer…

    When the sound of cicadas (semi) starts, you definitely know it’s summer in Japan….

  2. locohama says:

    I love summer but I hate them…I’m so glad they’re dropping like flies now. (-; But it’s nothing personal, I hate almost all flying seemingly powerful insects.

  3. locohama says:

    btw good post (-;

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