Beijing 2006 - Pets for sale (1) by Marjolein Katsma

Beijing 2006 - Pets for sale (1) by 

Share this page Photo © 2006 Marjolein Katsma | Text © 2012 Marjolein Katsma

Tags for this photograph:
pets, for sale, crickets, sound, singing, beijing, china, sound of beijing, hutong, intact, video

Part of the Beijing 2006 – The hutong series; see my same-named journal post for a bit of background.

See the location on a satellite map (Google’s street map doesn’t register with the satellite view!)

On the edge of a hutong (this one still largely intact), I found this chair. It drew my attention by the peculiar sound it emitted – or rather, the sound emitted by the inhabitants of the little bamboo cages as I found out when taking a close look. Their ‘owner’, curiously, was nowhere to be seen (having a cup of tea at the little cafe nearby?) but it was obvious the little creatures were for sale, and kept as pets. Only later did I find hutong houses with a little cage above a door or a window, with one of them, singing and singing.


Their sound became to me “the sound of Beijing” – the Beijing of the intact hutong (somehow I cannot imagine this sound in modern high-rise flats), but I cannot believe all of that has gone now… I was intrigued enough by this sound that I made a short video to record and share it:

For some references about crickets held as pets in China, see Beijing 2006 – Pets for sale (2)

Camera: Fuji Finepix F30

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I have two passions: travel and photography – and these are often combined. Though even in my own city I often have a camera with me!

When I am not actually taking photographs or working on photographs, you may find me busy programming or otherwise working on my websites.

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  • mmargot
    mmargotabout 3 years ago

    Striking image and wonderful background info!

  • Thank you very much, Margot! For the fave, too!

    – Marjolein Katsma

  • Maree Cardinale
    Maree Cardinaleabout 3 years ago

    Wow. This is fascinating and I’m glad we have the added bonus of sound effects :)

  • The sound was what drew my attention, and the only way to ‘record’ that fact was to make a short video… Although I find it hard to do both video and photography, I find I started doing it again now that I have a camera phone that can shoot video – and nearly always my ‘trigger’ for video is sound. :)
    Thank you Maree, for the fave, too!

    – Marjolein Katsma

  • Esther's Art and Photography
    Esther's Art a...about 3 years ago

    Interesting image and story. I have seen on TV crickets are a big thing there. Great capture!

  • I wonder long long they will remain a ‘big thing’ though – the modern younger Chinese living in the new high-rise blocks popping up all over the city may not be so interested… Anyway, for me the crickets are ‘the sound of Beijing’ but connected closely to the hutong areas.
    Thanks for your lovely comment Esther!

    – Marjolein Katsma

  • MartinJohnson
    MartinJohnsonabout 3 years ago

    Wonderfully done

  • Thank you so much, Martin! If you click the satellite image link in the description, you’ll see this was taken near a big road crossing. Coming from the south, I could actually hear the cricket chorus from across the road! (On the video, you can hear some cars honking, but they’re almost drowned out by the crickets. ;))

    – Marjolein Katsma

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