Saturday, June 20, 2015

Small Adventures #39

There's this thing I first noticed shortly after moving down to Kagoshima 4 years ago. Occasionally, at night, somewhere shortly after 9 PM, there'd be this wooden "clacking" sound, kind of like what you hear at sumo tournaments. "clack" "clack". "clack" "clack". Every once in a while, I'd get the urge to run out with my camera to try to get a photo of whoever was doing this, thinking it'd be some kind of old guy in a watchman uniform or something, but either the sound was too far away, or I'd be in the middle of something that I didn't want to interrupt. And this goes on 4 years.

Finally, this week, as I was coming home from the grocery store, I heard the clacking sound from just half a block in front of me. And I had my camera. So I hurried forward, getting the camera ready just in case. What I found was a tall guy, maybe in his late 40's, wearing a white worker's undershirt, like you occasionally on see blue collar craftsmen, and dark slacks. Around his neck was a long white cord, with long pieces of wood on either end. Beside him were two younger guys; I couldn't tell if they were his sons, or just two friends. They were carrying on a regular conversation, while the tall guy in the middle clacked the sticks in a slow rhythm. "clack" "clack". "clack" "clack".

I couldn't get a good shot, so I returned home. And for the next hour, as the three guys snaked back and forth around the neighborhood, I could sometimes make out a "clack" "clack". "clack" "clack". I've been told that this is a traditional way of telling people to be careful at night.

I believe it just means that some people think that there's absolutely nothing to watch on TV at night.

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