Since the scaffolding is gone from the south side of my building and it is now getting warm enough, I am keeping my windows and balcony doors open, at least during the day. Mostly my neighborhood is rather quiet, with the exception of the road next to the river. And the schools. No, I am not talking about screaming kids during breaks or sports classes. Even though there are three schools nearby, I do not hear any of them.

Bell at Shinyodo TempleWhat I do hear though, all through the day, are the school bells. They probably come from a different school each time depending on wind direction, but still, I can hear them very often. And every time I hear them, I am reminded of my own time in school. Because, wouldn’t you believe it, the bells have the same tone, even melody, as the one we had in my middle school 30 years ago!

Is this not a neat way of bridging the gaps between cultures? Of course, this leads to interesting questions: Why this particular bell sound – and not any other? The question remains even if this is the standard setting for school bells – who thought this was a good idea? Or, maybe, there is only a single producer of school bell systems worldwide! But then, where do they come from – Austria or Japan?