Those breathless, desperate gasps - in agony or ecstasy? Those gutteral howls, shrill panicky shrieks, those groans and hand clapping - young girls in dire trouble? No, they're having fun!
Far from the image Japanese women have of elegance and grace, Japanese schoolgirls - at least when they're together - represent a diametrically opposite world. Communication is overwhelmingly phatic - and very loud. Girls in the grip of inconceivable levels of mirth howl semi-wordless utterances and exclamations that, in unison, make for an often alarming clamor that borders on group hysteria.
Listen to a group of Japanese schoolgirls on the streets of Shibuya ward, Tokyo.
October 24, 2006.