The 5:00 Song

In the town where I live, we have two tunes. One on 4:30 p.m., and the other on 5:00 p.m. I believe those music are for reminding kids to go home before the sun goes down. Although, many kids stay out after 5 p.m. 😉

Cascadian Abroad

Everyday at 5 p.m., the loudspeakers around town play a charming little tune. At first, I thought “well isn’t that a nice little tune,” but as the weeks went on, I wanted to know what purpose it served. End of the workday? Not likely with all of those salarymen shuffling home at 9 p.m.

My Japanese googling skills are getting better and today I finally found the answer, although the next question is why I was thinking about the 5 o’clock song at 9 in the morning.

Turns out, it really is called the 5 O’clock Chime (五時のチャイム or goji no chaimu) and each city has its own version. It’s actually a daily test of the Municipal Disaster Management Radio Communication Network. Much like the Emergency Broadcast System in the U.S., if you hear the chime at any other time than 5 p.m., trouble is a’brewing.

In Kawagoe, our song is called “Wild…

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