Fun Link Friday: Town Bells

Last week, I had a “you know you’ve lived in Japan when” moment: to my shock, I recognized the song “Love is Blue” (「恋はみずいろ」), which played during the credits of the Mad Men episode “The Flood,” because I had heard it as a 5 pm chime in Ishikawa.

(Turns out that Fujimi City, Saitama, also uses 「恋はみずいろ」.)

Anyone who has lived in Japan has heard the town-wide morning or evening chimes. Recently, Alice Gordenker wrote about 5 pm bells in both her So What the Heck Is That? column for The Japan Times and in her blog. She explains the history of the bells–turns out it’s not just to tell the schoolchildren and farmers to go home–in “The 5 p.m. bell”  and links to some popular songs for chimes in “The 5 o’clock bell, explained.”

What does/did your town chime play?

Also, an aside: I was shocked to read her mention of the town where I was a CIR on the JET Program! I don’t know who the blogger complaining about the Anamizu town bells is, but the town really did have 4-5 bells/announcements per day when I lived there from 2009-11.

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