Listening to the Silent Voice of the Nature


When I listen to the voice of the crickets (鈴虫 suzumushi), I think  ‘Ah, the Autumn season is coming!

This type of exclamation is quite common through the Japanese population. It refers to the high capacity, common to the Japanese people, to understand the changing elements of nature, and discover the single characteristic of every season, referring to the symbolic meaning of the natural elements.

Here are some examples of the particular attention to the nature: the cricket’s voice, suzumushi  鈴虫,during the Autumn, the cicada’s voice, semi 蝉, during the Summer, the Nightingale’s song, uguisu ウグイス, in the Spring season, and, at least, the frost, shimo 霜, throughout the Winter.

These aspects are fundamental for the Japanese sensitivity, and we can have a confirmation of this aspect in a classical Japanese literature.

Listening to the silent voice of the nature,

translated in Japanese with an expression of ‘Mimi o sumasu 耳を澄ます‘ (literally: to put on airs) is one peculiarity of the Japanese people.

Their ancestral link with the nature, thickly populated with gods, enables their awareness and helps them enjoy the voice of the insects or a simple leaves’ rustle. It is commonly recognized that Japanese people can enjoy small events of the everyday life that usually pass unnoticed, such as the bloom of the cherry blossoms, the change of the wind and the leaves transported by it in the autumn, as well as the deep silence of a full moon night in the winter.

The slogan ‘mimi wo sumasu’ should sound like a strong call for us, a sort of advice toward the Nature, an incitement to pay attention and listen to it, in order to get what is usually hidden, and enjoy it.

Everyone of us can get a little moment of happiness just put on airs in the middle of the outward silence.

Suzumushi 鈴虫: it is commonly translated as “cricket”, in Japan the voice of the insect has a typical sound, identified as “riin riin リーンリーン” characteristic of the summer season.

Semi: in Japanese, this is the cicada, the voice of this insect is inevitably connected with the summer. Moreover, in the Japanese tradition this insect has a deep symbolic meaning. In fact, due to its short life, it is a symbol of the concept of hakanai inochi 儚い命, it means the ephemeral life. 

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