So this will be the final posts, retrospectively, from my Artists Residency in Shodoshima, Japan with some of the field recording I did while there. Most of these recordings were done for use in the sound design of my film projects, but some was more opportunistic – recording because I was experiencing beautiful sounds & had my record kit with me!
First some bells I recorded on Shodoshima!
1. Up on top of the mountains of Shodoshima there is an amazing old hotel or restaurant, no longer used but still in great condition. I was attracted to stop here by the amazingly overgrown footbridge across the road.
Up the top of these last two photos is a clue to the first sound I will post, but the sign for the old restaurant is also a clue
While the restaurant isn’t being maintained any more, up a track behind it is an amazing garden complete with recreated Greek structures
Like a magnet I was drawn to this bell, and it provided a clue to the gardens providence
From what I could make out it appears the bell was cast in 1973, as a gesture for world peace and is signed by Kurt Waldheim, Secretary General of the United Nations. I would imagine when this garden was opened it would have been an auspicious day, and while the Greek connection might at first seem tenuous, bear in mind the largest industry on Shodoshima is olives, and Shodoshima is a sister island with the Greek island of Milos.
2. next, Angel Road is a famous location on Shodoshima, every day lots of tourists visit it but the best part is that at high tide it completely disappears! Angel Road is a stretch of land which at low tide connects three small islands with the mainland.
The reason people visit it, is the tradition that if you walk across with Angel road with your partner/lover/better half, then it will bring good luck to your relationship.
Another part of the tradition is to buy tokens of your affection and leave them at Angel Road, some are left attached to a dedicated wall..
But many are attached to tree branches
When a gentle wind blows these shells contribute a beautiful element to the ambience of Angel Road
Beside Angel road is a small rocky outcrop with stairs leading to a lookout
Couples have tied shells and trinkets up here as well
The bell up here has an inscription
3. The next bell I recorded was at Shorinji temple. I was drawn here after researching the temples on Shodoshima and discovering this was the only temple with a dry garden/karesansui.
4. The last bell I didn’t actually record, not because I didn’t want to but….
I came across this bell up a valley behind Nakayama – there was a sign near the bell
If anyone who can read the sign would like to comment as to what it says I would really appreciate it!
the sound of an unstruck bell
a Zen koan?
Can’t but help think about how these bells travel through time, retaining their beauty & highly evolved resonance while outliving generations of humans…