An underground morning / 地下の朝

There is a thing called “underground” in the ground surface. Literally it means the place under the ground. One day, some smart person came up with this brilliant idea to dig a hole under the ground to supplement the spacial shortage on the ground surface. After many failures, the terrestrial people succeeded to create rooms in the underground, and even run trains there. They call the underground trains “subway”. The subway also has many windows like the normal train. But you can only see a dark hole outside through the windows. The “train” surprised me , but the “subway” confused me even more and couldn’t understand the meaning of it for a while. While they already have “trains”, “cars” and “buses” a lot on the ground surface, they even wanted the vehicle which runs underneath invisibly in all the directions. Why they are in such a hurry to go somewhere so earnestly?

“The subway is the best to go to work! Can’t see anything outside the windows? Who cares! Don’t you get excited imagining the buses running towards the opposite direction, the trains running across, so many people walking everywhere ABOVE the beautiful speed of subway?”, a carefree bug said something unusually urban. He then turned his tentacles three times around and added cynically “…but it is troublesome that they invade the territory of the insects without permission”. According to him, the underground originally belongs to the insects. In fact, they are quite upset about this invasion. 

“I can’t see any stars from here”, murmured a stardust. “People are not looking at them even when they can, so no difference”, interrupted a carefree bug. I became worried imagining the terrestrial people expanding into the sea bed one day. Then I had to laugh recalling that I am the one who expanded myself from the sea bed to the ground surface. No outside light would reach underground. No outside sound. No birdsong. No wind song. Everything feels artificial there. Ticket vending machines repeat greetings. A robotic female voice repeats “the train is arriving!”. Among these, there was a voice repeating “Good Morning” each time a person went through the gate. I thought it was a voice of a male robot. Instead, I found that it was a voice of a human station worker. 

A stardust closed its eyes for a while to analyze if there was a trace of emotion in his voice, or not.

sample point : Tokyo Metro


「仕事に行くにはやっぱり地下鉄さ! 窓の外に何も見えないって? 地下鉄が素敵なスピードで走る上を、バスが反対方向に走って、電車が横切って、もっとたくさんの人があちこち歩き回っているって考えるだけでもワクワクしない?」とのんき虫がいつになく都会らしいことを言った。それから触覚を三回ほど回して「ただし、僕ら虫達の領域に無断で侵入するのはちょっとどうかと思うけどね」と皮肉な調子で付け加えた。彼によると、地下は本来は人間のものではなくて、虫のものなのだそうだ。実際、それはとても腹立たしいことらしい。



Rain, Home and Dance of Universe / 雨と家と宇宙のダンス

Sometimes there falls thing called “rain” on the ground surface. Originally it is sea water. It then becomes invitible particles heated up with the Sun, and rises up to the sky. Once the sky accumulates the unbearable amount of the particles, it starts falling again towards the ground surface. When it falls, the size of the particles are rather large, so the drops of water make sound when they hit my body in a ‘rainy’ day. The rhythm of rain drops is ticklish, sounding paraparapara. Carefree bug doesn’t like rain. Because even a drop of rain could be larger than his body, and if he tries to drink it, he could be drank. He frowned and complained that he couldn’t fly until his wings were dry, and it could be dangerous if several rain drops would connect to make a flood to wash him away.
”Sea water is salty, isn’t it? Don’t you think it is strange that the rain isn’t salty?”, said Carefree bug.
”What IS salty?”, said Stardust, twinkling its eyes.
I like to be under the rain. I think rain and I have some similarity - we both came from the ocean, yet we both found different sound. Also I found it amazing that my tail fin and pectral fins create wave-like movement even though I am not intentionally moving them when each rain drop hits each scale of mine in unexpected order.

“Oh, you are dancing!”, said a man.


“Yes. Dancing. Rain is dancing. You are dancing. The world is dancing.”

“Do you like to come home until the rain stops?” said the man, looking at the miserably wet Carefree bug.
So, we decided to stay at his “home” until the rain stops.
Each terrestrial person has a thing called “home”, which is like the shell of a hermit crab.
They go inside it when it rains.
They sleep inside it at night.

Inside his old wooden home was warm, and the sound of rain hitting on its roof was soft.

”Would you like some tea?”, a woman asked us coming out from the depth of the home, then she disappeared again. Each time she opened and closed a sliding door, it sang a strange song - kurukuru -.

“Feels like this home is alive!” Carefree bug cried for admiration, stretching his almost-dry wings.

The man who he said is a dancer started to dance with the sound of rain.

Stardust glowed slowly with the rhythm of the dance. My tale fin started to tell the story that even I don’t know. Carefree bug once in a while stroke a pose on the fingertip or eyelash of the dancer.

The rain stopped, and here appeared the moon.
We greeted, and left their home.

When I said “we don’t have home…” feeling slightly sad,
Carefree bug immediately screamed, “Is that so?”.
”I am totally fine just being with you. Well, I can always slip under your scales too”.
”The universe… is …home” muttered Stardust, looking into my eyes.

sample point: Kami-Ikebukuro, Tokyo

地表には時々「雨」というものが降る。これはもともとは海水だったものが太陽に温められて小さな見えない粒となって空へと昇り、空に耐えられないくらいつぶつぶが増えると今度はそれがまた地表に向かって落ちてくる。落ちてくる時には粒が随分と大きくなるので、雨の日に外に出ると、落ちてくる水のつぶつぶが体に当たって音を出す。それはくすぐったいリズムで、paraparaparaと鳴る。のんき虫は雨が嫌いなのだそうだ。なぜなら雨粒の一つはのんき虫の体よりも大きいくらいで、飲もうとすると飲まれてしまうからだそうだ。羽根が濡れたら、乾くまで飛べないし、雨粒二つ三つがつながったら洪水となって流されてしまうから剣呑なのだ、とのんき虫は顰めっ面をした。「海の水は塩辛いんでしょう? どうして雨は塩辛くないのかなあ」とのんき虫が言うと、星屑は「シオカライってなんのこと?」と目をピカピカさせた。私は雨に打たれるのが好きだ。雨が海からやってきたのに、海にいた時とは違う音を手に入れたことがどこか自分の身の上に似ているような気がしたし、雨粒の一個一個が私の鱗一枚一枚に予想できない順番で当たると、自分で動かしているわけではないのに、私の尾鰭や胸鰭が波打つように動くのだった。











のんき虫は「そう? ぼくはみんなと一緒にいたら十分だけどなあ。君の鱗の裏にも入れるし」と言い、星屑は「宇宙も家」とたった一言呟いて、私を見つめた。


Opening an imaginary door / 架空のドアを開く

There are a lot of "monuments" on the terrestrial surface. Those are the objects to memorize that something happened here before. Usually, monuments are to remember something special such as a great man's magnificent achievement or a miraculous incidence happened at that location. "Monuments" are almost always made of stone. "The stone is the most convenient material which won't melt or be torn easily, staying here the same over the long period of time..." --- when "a person in charge" explained about the "monument" like this politely standing by the "monument", we all imagined different things; carefree bug imagined that soon the terrestrial surface would be filled with monuments; stardust imagined the "long period of time" of the terrestrial people converted into the stellar time; I imagined that there actually would have been countless monuments made of snow, water drops or leaves, but they just might have disappeared and they are invisible now --- I imagined that each flower on the slope could be a monument for something not necessarily great or special. 

There are also a lot of "sites" on the terrestrial surface. These are the places where there used to be something, but gone now. I saw many people who were standing by the "site" and gazing at the empty space. Terrestrial people often are more moved by the things gone than the things still are. The things which are still there could so casually come into the eyes and swim around that eyes are quickly filled with images and they wouldn't be able to keep on seeing. That's why terrestrial people would take photos to check if these things actually exist. On the other hand, "sites" are the vacant screens to project the images in the memory. They say that saturation of the images remembered and projected onto the "site" seems higher than the one captured on the photos. People who stand still at the site are listening to the ripples of the colors of memory swimming in their mind. 

I heard that today is the "waterfall opening" day. Although waterfall doesn't open or close, terrestrial people sometimes create this kind of imaginary doors to make breakpoints. The newly opened waterfall indeed had a smell of a newborn summer, and a blank white page was waiting beyond the door. 

sample point: Yomogihira machi, Niigata, Japan






Silence and Eternity / 沈黙と永遠

Dedicated to T.I who always listened to the sound of silence

There are three trees in the park carefree bug loves. In a windy day, the trees make wavy sound. I recorded it a few times and listened to it at night. The "terrestrial wave" sound is always mixed with children's voice who run around the three trees in the shape of connected double 8. The fragments of the children's voice in the terrestrial wave reminded me of the colorful shells tossed about by the ocean wave. 

After the light started to turn into the summer spectral, we saw every morning an old man who were swinging his feet, sitting on a swing in the park. He always had an innocent big smile, nodding time to time although there was nobody else in the park. One day, I sat on a swing next to him for a while, swinging my tail fin. The wind passed, the light passed, and stardust on my scales squinted. Still, there was nothing I could see in the direction where the old man was gazing. Carefree bug who were flying in the air back and forth in the same rhythm of the swing, finally let out a funny scream.

"Hey hey, what makes you that smile? I don't see anything funny here!"
"I am listening to the silence"
"What is SILENCE?" 
"Silence is the sound that will be always here even when my ears disappear"
"Always? Forever?"

Without answering to carefree bug's question, the old man told us to come to the corner over there tomorrow morning and press 'record' button of my recorder exactly at 11AM and press 'stop' button exactly at 11:04:33AM. He poured his big smile into my eyes for the last time, then casually disappeared. 

The next morning, there was no old man in the park.
We saw a stray cat laying at the corner where the old man pointed yesterday.
When the cat made eye contact with me, I immediately understood that the old man's ears weren't on the earth anymore.  
Not daunted, I pressed 'record' button exactly at 11AM, then press 'stop' button exactly at 11:04:33AM.
Thin smoke came out from a far chimney. The sky was as transpearent as usual. 

I tried to record silence. Instead, though, it was eternity that was recorded.
It seems like we were tricked by the old man's Zen dialogue. 
The stray cat yawned, then seemed like momentarily smiled at me before he went back to his pleasant sleep.

Tomorrow is a star festival. Terrestrial people sometime look up the sky to see the stars. According to stardust, the frequency of the "looking up the stars" is more and more decreased in recent years. Ancient people did nothing but watching stars after dark, so soon they came to connect bright starts to draw shapes. Those shapes include heroes, a serpent, and a dipper to scoop the stardusts. Nowadays, very few people watch the sky long enough to see those kind of shapes. The most people now only try to believe that they are seeing something that should be there but is not with eyes that don't actually see anything. 

Stardust says that stars actually regret these contemporary phenomenon, so they sometimes send a special sign to the people who actually look up to really watch the stars. I am not quite sure if this is true since stardust seems to be always in the state of dream. Nevertheless, when stardust said that there is a new smiling star added in the sky today, its eyes are remarkably bright awake. 

sample point: Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo
sample date: July 6, 2017, 11:00:00AM - 11:04:33AM





「ねえねえ、何がそんなに楽しいの? ここには何もないような気がするんだけど」
「ずっと? ずうっと?」






採集日時:2017年7月6日 午前11時〜午前11時4分33秒

Far from everything / すべてから遠い場所

We came to an "island". Although "Island" is also a part of ground surface, it is isolated from the larger part and surrounded by an ocean. When I was on the larger ground surface (which is called "continent") I always had a sense if I kept on walking step by step, I would reach somewhere far. On the island, instead, you will reach the end very soon regardless of where you start and where you head for. You won't reach somewhere far, but the island is somewhere far. "An ending is a beginning. Yes.", muttered the carefree bug with philosopher-like tone.

The night ocean looked endlessly dark, and the "island" seemed to be floating alone far from everything. After going through the horrifying anxiety of "not-connected-to-anywhere" sense, strange warmth of "being here" floated up. It was a part lonely, a part exciting, solemn feeling found in the mixture of ending and beginning. I felt like saying something a bit serious, but the carefree bug already lied flat on a large leaf up on the tree, gazing the stars, enchanted. 

During the day, I took the "air diving apparatus" off after a long period of time, and went into the ocean. I felt nostalgic seeing the oceanscape. My mates soon came close to me to swim together. My body was so light. While I let my body float in the middle of the salty eddy, the memory from the time I didn't even have memory was oozed from inside. Why did I leave such a comfortable dear place to start a journey ? Why am I continuing my journey carrying such a heavy "air diving apparatus"? Is it because I can only listen to the sound of the wave when I am outside of the wave?

A stream of light ran across the sky. 
"It's a falling star! Did you make a wish? If you chant your wish three times before the light disappears, the wish will come true!" screamed the carefree bug.
I forgot to make a wish because the stream of light was too beautiful to stop staring. The carefree bug made a wish, but he didn't tell me what it was. He thinks if he tells the wish to somebody, the wish wouldn't come true. The area of the landing of the falling star was glowing gently like the first morning light. I, following the carefree bug, went to search "it". 

On a small grass field in the middle of a bush, we found "it". 
"It's a piece of the star! It fell from the sky!", shouted the carefree bug, flying in circle.
Stardust followed us, still partially burning.

According to stardust, the continent is also just a large version of island, and even the earth is merely a tiny island in the vast universe.

We are floating alone, far from everything. 

sample point: O'ahu island, Hawaii




昼間、久しぶりに「潜気具」を外して、海に入った。懐かしい景色がそこにあって、仲間たちがすぐに周りに寄ってきた。体はどこまでも軽く、塩分の多い水の渦に体を委ねると、記憶がなかった頃の記憶が内側から染み出してきた。どうして私は、この懐かしくて居心地のいい場所から旅立ったのだろう? どうして、こんなにも重い「潜気具」を背負って、旅を続けているのだろう? それは波の音が波の外からしか聞こえないことと関係があるのだろうか?

「流れ星だ! ねえ、願い事お願いした? 光が消える前に急いで三回唱えれば、なんでも叶うのさ」

「星の欠片だ! さっき、空から落ちてきたんだ!」とのんき虫はぐるぐる飛びながら叫んだ。







Secret of fallen leaves / 落葉の秘密

I went to the place called "mountain" for the first time. It was very much like the large hard bump we have on the bottom of the ocean. On the ground surface, though, we have to do the movement called "climb-up", rubbing the surface of the "mountain". Carefree bug was flying in the air, carefree. He said "It's too much work to climb if you don't have wings! Isn't it too uncomfortable to step on these rough bumps?" My air diving apparatus filled with water was quite heavy. Each time when I almost lost balance, carefree bug pushed the smooth surface of my air diving mask up with his tiny hand to help me. His hand was so tiny and the power I felt from his pushing up was as weak as a stroke of breeze. The feeling of climbing up with somebody who are trying to help me, though, helped me a lot. Something internal was pushed up by that feeling, and I didn't mind the pain of going on the rough surface at all.

Besides, the ground surface was covered with lots of fallen leaves. They were all different shapes and colors, and they were all beautiful. It was carefree bug who came up with the idea of coming to see the fall colors. He said, dancing and drawing circles in the air, "I usually got nervous at this time of year thinking about coming winter and how it would be cold. This year, though, I can just crawl under your fringe if the cold wind starts blowing. It's SO EASY!"

As soon as we arrived at the top, suddenly the panoramic view spread out before us. Beyond the mountain we just climbed up, there were another mountain and more mountains that seemed to continue endlessly.  The sense of vastness somehow brought me a feeling of strong happiness half mixed with strong loneliness. Even the carefree bug had to say in poet-like tone, "Oh. We are, so small.", sitting gently on a fallen leaf, looking far into the vastness.

We met a man who was walking around on the pile of the fallen leaves. I asked him if the leaves were happy or sad when they fell. The not-so-young man smiled and said, "Why don't you ask these fallen leaves?" Then he added, "The fallen leaves are great. They fall each year like this and eventually completely disappear into the ground. Then they sprout on the trees again in the spring. They are different leaves, but they are the same leaves!" I couldn't really understand what he meant yet. The carefree bug, though, screamed with excitement, "Yes, yes, that's it!" and flipped himself once in the air. 

sample point: Harriman State Park, NY




落葉がたくさん積もっているところを俯いて行ったり来たりしている人がいるので、枯葉は落ちる時に淋しいのですか、それとも幸せなのですか、と聞いてみた。その若くない男の人は、落葉に聞いてみたら? と言って笑った。それから「落葉は偉いねえ。こうやって毎年落ちて、そのうち地面の中へ消えちゃうんだよ。でも、また春になると、生えてくるだろう? あれは違う葉っぱなのに、同じ葉っぱなのさ!」と言った。わたしにはその意味がまだよくわからなかったけれど、のんき虫は「そう、そう、そういうことさ!」と叫んで、空中でくるりと一度宙返りをした。


End of Summer / 夏の終わり

One day I heard cicadas in the street. I knew it was the sound made by an insect called "cicada" since a sound technician at a cinema had told me before. He has very good ears to listen to all the fragile sound hidden in the streetscape.

I didn't have my microphone that day. So I went back the next day to the same street, the same time of the day. Cicadas were all gone. I thought summer would last forever, so I even didn't care recording them in the middle of it. When I finally wanted to record them, they were gone. On the ground, lots of things go like this. Lots of people, lots of things are too strong of a ray to see at the noisy hight of it. When it becomes finally visible, it is already disappearing. The most of the times, people fail to catch its tail, and the next season will arrive. I saw many times a person who couldn't catch anything sat on an end-facing bench staring at his/her hands.      

At that night, I noticed the certain sound mixed in with the darkness. It sounded sari sari. It was the sound arrived right when cicada sound left. I started recording it so that I wouldn't miss it this time. At that moment, I saw something very small surfing on the wind. IT landed on me. It was a small insect with tiny wings. He started chattering immediately when he landed on me. "Can I crawl under your shiny fringes when it becomes colder?" I didn't know my scales had such a use. I said "Yes, please." The insect quickly slid his legs under my scales saying "Call me carefree bug. Nice to meet you!" He swung his head and added, "Autumn night isn't so lonely when I am with someone." 

 "What is that sound, sari sari?",  I asked. "They are autumn insects.", he replied. He explained me that sari sari was the sound of autumn insects chewing the cold wind. "Don't you know that autumn wind is harder than summer one? That's why it makes such sound", continued the carefree bug. "Oh, I see..." ... I was not sure if the thing carefree bug told me was correct. What was sure was that the sound I once thought lonesome started to appear merry while I was listening to it together with somebody. I began to imagine beautiful movement of scissors cutting the hard autumn air into various shapes. The scissors cut many invisible shapes out and layered them into the darkness. It seemed like not many people on the ground was noticing it, because all the prickly or whispering shapes had colors yet they were all transparent.

Sample Point: Brooklyn, NY





あのサリサリという音は何? あれは、秋の虫だよ。ああやって、サリサリと冷たい風を咀嚼してるのさ。夏の風よりも秋の風の方が堅いだろう? だからあんな音がするのさ、とのんき虫は言った。ふうん、と言いながら、それが本当かどうかはまあどちらでも構わないけれど、誰かと一緒だと本当にさっきよりも全く淋しいような気がしなくなって、淋しい音だと思っていた虫の音が、硬質の秋の空気をいろんな形に刻んでいるハサミの美しい動きに思えて楽しくすらなった。そのハサミは目には見えないいろんな形を切り出して、闇に重ねていく。でもトゲトゲやさやさやの様々な形は色はあっても透明なので、それに気づいている人はあまりいないみたいだった。


A Train / 電車

A “train” came. “I can go far without walking if I take this”, said a grandma. “I’ll be able to catch the 10 o’clock meeting if I get on this!”, said a young man. “I can see houses and flowers from the window”, said a child. “Since the kinetic energy is applied to the human body, which is originally a quiescent point…” started a scientist. Me, I thought the train is similar to secretly riding on the back of a stingray, and the people swaying in it are “floating” like they are in the water. Because I noticed that, I decided to ride on.

Sample point: Kyoto, Japan



Where is Fishgirl now? / フィッシュガールは今どこ?

Did Fishgirl disappear? No. She is there collecting sound. Sometimes, she looks at flowers too long, follows a tail of dragonfly endlessly, or listens to the long story of a lonesome guy. That's why she often forgets to broadcast her sound. Soon, some shiny sound will be sent to us.

フィッシュガールは消えちゃったの? いいえ。今もそこで音を蒐集中。ときどき、花に見とれたり、とんぼのしっぽをずっと追いかけていったり、孤独な男の長話をずっと聞いていたりするので、音を放送するのを忘れちゃうだけ。もうすぐ、ピカピカの音が送られてくるはず。

A shell-shaped building / 貝の形をした建物

I went inside of a big shell-shaped building. It was a place called museum. Museum is a bit like the ocean. Seems like less gravity here. Things float, so as the minds. I listened, quietly. Even the heaviest soul here sounds serene. Museum must be a place for meditation. A security guard came to me to tell not to take photos. But he smiled instead when he realized I was just listening to human minds.

Sample point: New York, USA



A quite large instrument / かなり大きな楽器

Feet are harder than fins to start with. Moreover, human beings wear things called “shoes”. Moving percussions! Here, everyone comes from somewhere, heading to somewhere, without knowing playing the instrument called ground surface. I heard that, even at this very moment, there is a secret ensemble happening between the hoofs of running giraffes in savanna, high-heels climbing up the stairs of an apartment, a grandpa with a cane and light tappings of penguins in Antarctica. 

Sample point: Kyoto, Japan

足は鰭より硬い上に、人間は靴というものも履く。動く打楽器! ここでは、<地表>という楽器を鳴らし続けていることも知らずに、皆どこかからやって来て、どこかへ向かっている。今のこの瞬間にも、サバンナを駆け抜けるキリンの蹄、アパートの階段を上ってくるハイヒール、杖をついたおじいさん、南極のペンギンのひたひたが、密かに素敵なアンサンブルを奏でているんだって。


Message from above / 上からのメッセージ

Many things have passed in front of them. Soft, brutal, metallic, airy, organic, invasive, indifferent. They never stop singing. The continuous message from above. A film director said we should listen to them because they know better than us — because they have an aerial view of the city, an aerial view of all. Now I don’t remember if he was a film director, or he was a poet.

Sample point: Essen, Germany



I probably never listened to IT before/聞いてなかったみたい

When I was in the water, I didn’t hear it. I never thought I wanted to listen to it. There is a little water on the ground surface, and it all is moving from high to low. In the middle of it, the surfacarians drink it, wash with it, play with it, and listen to it. A grandma told me that listening to the water is like listening to the memory before her birth. 

Sampling point: Kyoto, Japan



2.22. 2:22:22 Landing / 上陸

2.22. 2:22:22. That’s the time she was born. To be precise, that was the time she was “landed”. Equipped with her special gears to explore the ground surface. A peculiar silhouette with a small microphone and a recorder.

2月22日2時22分22秒。彼女の生まれた時間。正確に言うと、彼女が「上陸」した日付。 特別装置で身を包み、地上を探検するために。小さなマイクと録音機の、へんてこなシルエット。