From the Editor: Favorite Sounds

From the Editor: Favorite Sounds


Let’s all listen a little more carefully.

One of my favorites from this issue is “100 Sounds and a Culture of Listening.” This article explains a government program in Japan to identify 100 “significant sounds” that are important parts of Japanese culture or history. A similar program has identified 100 smells, including grilled eel and “the scent of used books in Tokyo’s Kanda district.”

I don’t know if I’ve ever gone anywhere specifically to hear or smell. I’ve gone lots of places to see—I’ve been a sightseer. But I love the idea of focusing in hearing and scent. These are experiences that are elusive. They defy capture. They’re not great for social media posts. Memories of what we hear or smell can’t be offloaded onto phones. That makes these memories more interesting to me—they require intentional curation. And it just so happens that intentional curation is at the heart of most practices for mental wellbeing.

We have an international audience, but most of our readers are in the United States. What are some of the iconic or meaningful sounds and smells that are embedded in our culture (or that should be)? Specific sounds and smells that people could travel in order to experience? I propose the call of a loon on a northern lake as one significant sound. Let us know your nominees by sending us a note at [email protected]. I’m looking forward to compiling them into a story.

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