Tuesday, May 5, 2009


「えー、火事の時は119番。どうして最後が「9」かご存じですか。ダイヤル式の電話の場合、大きな数字の方がダイ ヤルが元に戻る時間が長い、それだけ心が落ち着くという事です。つまり、プッシュホンの時代にはほとんど意味な いんです」
『古畑任三郎: 最後のあいさつ』

”Uuhm, when there's fire, call 119. Do you know why the last number is a "9"? When using a dial-type phone, the time it takes for the dial to return is longer with a larger number and because of that, you'll calm down. Ergo, in this period of push button phones, it's pretty much meaningless..."
"Furuhata Ninzaburou: The Final Greeting"

Uuuhm, every culture has it own quirks. Some things, you'll get used to quite quickly. Sometimes, you just can't seem to understand why. And then it stays in your head for years.

Luckily, I finally solved two Japanese mysteries today that have been bugging me for two years now. Because when you're lying in bed all day because weeks of not getting enough sleep are finally getting to you, you have some time to think about the most random things. The first one is also for Els. The name of that song is 通りゃんせ (Tooryanse). This song is a widely used song for crossings, for example at the crossing across of Kyoto Station and in front of Ikebukero Station. We both wondered what the heck the song was, as you'll hear it at the most random places. And it's very catchy, you'll hear us hum it alongst the alarm everytime.

The second mystery is the PET bottle mystery. In Japan, you'll see randomly placed PET bottles filled with water near the road. We have some here around Ekota and I saw them in Kamakura too, but I mostly remember them from Kyoto, where they were present in pretty much every street. It seems that people place those bottles in the hopes of scaring away cats. They call them 猫よけペットボトル (nekoyoke (cat warding) PET bottles) and it is thought that cats are scared of the sunlight that refracts through the water in the bottles. However, it also seems that there have been cases that houses went up in flames because of the sunlight, with the bottles functioning like a big magnifying glass. Of course, anyone who'd have read Maurice Leblanc's 'Les Huit Coups de L'Horloge' would have foreseen this...

And now to find new mysteries to solve in Japan...

1 comment :

  1. You solved two of the biggest mysteries that were hunting me! Especially the 通りゃんせ Mystery, because the song stays stuck in my head for days after hearing it.