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To Those Troubled by the Footsteps of the Children Upstairs: Could this be a sacred spot?


Do you have experience with hearing thumping noises through the night, forcing you to have patience?


Whenever you buy a condominium unit, it’s really difficult to anticipate what noises you will have to endure. Although you expect day-to-day sounds from others, life can also be turned into a nightmare when you suddenly start hearing noisy children running and thumping from above; realizing your new home might not be the peaceful haven you had dreamed of. You might find yourself internally pleading, “Stop jumping like that! Please, parents, scold them!”


My favorite writer, Ms. Seri Nakano, named these kids “Don-chan”! Don-chan’s rampage intensifies on rainy days when they can’t go outside or perhaps when they throw temper tantrums over life-changing and unforgivable events, such as not allowing them to eat jelly for breakfast.


Seri grows concerned when she doesn’t hear the noise, wondering, “Is Don-chan feeling unwell? Perhaps they have gone somewhere to stay overnight and play.” A few days later, the usual “THUMP!” “THUMP!” starts again, and she feels relieved to confirm that they’re fine. She even likens it to the footsteps of a Zashiki-warashi, a child-like spirit in Japanese folklore known to inhabit old houses and bring good fortune. They’re often mischievous but generally benign.


Wow, a new perspective has given me a different outlook regarding my little noisy neighbors. I will try to remember these words when I am having difficulty sleeping!


What I’ve learned from this writer is that although it’s definitely noisy, the presence of children or animals, unlike the rough noise made by adults, can sometimes be soothing. Her friend who enjoys Japanese drums said, “The sound of drums wards off evil, and the loud footsteps, stomping, and running noises from the upstairs children resemble that sound.”


Is it possible that these noises that once agitated me are actually protecting me? Perhaps the sound will become a valuable part of my daily routine. Maybe one day, like Seri-San, I will even miss the noise.


I should thank these pure children. Indeed, in Japanese culture, the sounds of drums and bells play a significant role in cultural festivals. These tones and sounds are believed to ward off evil spirits and purify our troubled minds.


Perhaps the constant background noise that is coming from the ceiling of my apartment is distracting and annoying and some may say is unfair. However, if I have this mindset, will it help me? Will it reduce the noise?


We are responsible for how we perceive situations. This can be applied to many different aspects of our lives. Ultimately, it is better to choose to be happy and grateful than mad and resentful. I will appreciate my noisy little neighbors for bringing about such a pure and spiritual room for me and the opportunity to broaden my perspective!