Japanese Cicadas: Sound of Nature or Noise Pollution? Nowadays, also used in Fashion and Food?!

  • What is Japanese summer made of? Sun that sets late (up to 8:30 pm), freaking high temperatures, effing humidity, and, of course, cicadas (semi/セミ in Japanese). Some Japanese really love cicadas and enjoy their sound since they think like sakura, it is a ephemeral gift from nature. How about you?

    Japanese people often associate cicadas with summer, when these “singing” insects come to life and invade the silence of time, all day long.

    All About Cicadas

    Cicadas, or “Semi (セミ)” in the local language, stay in trees and shrubs and make a kind of sound that will make your eyebrows meet and your ears raise. There are many kinds of cicadas (more than 1,500 species) and each of these makes a different sound altogether like nature’s undefeatable rock and roll band. Unlike humans where usually the females create more (unnecessary) sounds, (as a disciplinarian mother and wife are), male cicadas produce these sounds.

    Sound of Nature


    Some like the sound that cicadas make and consider it as nature’s gift. When cicadas start to “sing”, it signals to people the onset of summer. And for the summer lovers, it is a great thing. “It’s music to the ears”, one friend said. ” It’s the sound of summer! I love summer”, said another.

    Noise Pollution


    There are also those who are not pleased with the existence of cicadas. “I hate cicadas! They are very noisy and also have no sense of direction”, I heard one say. “They’re so annoying!”, “I can’t sleep well”, “We should cut this tree, so they have no place to stay”, are some of the lines of those who dislike cicadas.

    For those who deeply value the sanctity of silence, they’d rather live in a place where cicadas don’t exist; maybe a place with no trees or shrubs near their house, far enough not to cause any ringing in their ears.

    Cicadas as Hair Accessories?!

    We all know Japan is full of unusual fashion trends, but were you aware that cicadas are one of them? Some people like putting dead cicadas,well, more like the cicadas’ shells in their hair or on their faces as a summer accessory. However, even if is Japan, this trend will only attract funny looks and cause people to avoid you, so before trying it I’d say think twice.

    Eating cicadas?!

    Cicadas are indeed edible, and you can even eat their shells, but it will only add some fiber to your diet. They can be eaten raw and apparently tastes
    like asparagus(or mushy asparagus, as many affirm). You can also boil them or cook them like you’d do for shrimp.

    There are a few people that have included cicadas in their diet, but personally, as long as I’m alive, I doubt I’ll even have the courage to touch one, not to mention eating it (or any other insect!).

    As for me, I love listening to cicadas, but will pass on the fashion trends and cicada dishes. The melody of the cicadas give me peace of mind during the summer and I’d listen for it continuously regardless of what I am doing.
    How about you?

    If you want to hear what cicadas sound like, click here and tell us what do you think.