The sounds of Japan are something I miss as much or more than the sights. I was telling my husband at one point in the past month that I missed hearing the 5:00 p.m. "children go home" music that used to play near our home. It was always a little melancholy because of the tune, but also comforting in the way it was trying to let people know what time it was.
Among the other sounds that I will never forget and miss is the sound of the laundry pole truck driving by. The video above (embedded from YouTube - it is not my video) does a good job of letting you know what it sounds like as well as looks like. When I learned that there was a business which did nothing but drive around selling replacement laundry poles, I thought that was most peculiar, but the longer I lived in Tokyo, the more it seemed to fit their cultural ethos. They care about how things look and work, including the poles that they hang their laundry out to dry on. I should note that I lived there for 23 years and never once replaced my laundry pole. It looked pretty dirty and worn by the time I left, but never changed in functionality.
I miss the sound of the announcements when the laundry pole trucks drove around our neighborhood, and what the fact that such trucks did any appreciable business said about the culture.