Monday, November 5, 2012

Chinese fire drill?

Nope, Japanese earthquake drill!

Students during an emergency drill

The entire city of Uruma is connected via loudspeakers, which is a common practice across Japan.

Daily, the loudspeakers ring out with chimes at 7am, noon, and 6pm.  There's also a woman who makes an evening announcement at 5:30pm.  I can't completely understand what she's saying (all announcements are in distal-style Japanese), but I believe the general gist is "Everyone, thank you for your hard work today, it's time to go home".  I'll have to record it one of these days.  I don't mind too much and I know a lot of other cities play entire songs for their residences, so definitely could be worse than just a few musical notes and a recorded speech we hear everyday.

The loudspeaker also announces special neighborhood events, like voting and festivals, and is used after emergencies, like major earthquakes, tsunami warnings, and typhoon information.  This morning we woke up to the neighborhood announcement of an emergency drill for the local schools.  (And yes, the loudspeaker literally woke us up around 8am.)

I wonder if America were to adopt this loudspeaker system, what would it sound like?  What songs would we play?  Interesting to think about how different our communities are sometimes.

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