The Japanese summer can be humid and oppressive, but the soothing sounds of a softly chiming Furin (“wind bell”) have been used for centuries to help dispel the heat. These tiny bells are made of glass, metal, or ceramics, with a strip of paper tied to the ringing hammer. When the wind blows, the bell sends out clear sounds, which are widely considered in Japan to be reminiscent of cool and refreshing sensations. Especially cherished are furin made of transparent glass and painted with vivid colors, which bring coolness to the eyes as well as the ears.
It is interesting to note that scientific evidence supports what Japanese people have traditionally known about the refreshing effects of furin. The bells produce high-frequency vibrations of 3,000 Hz or above, a range shared by bird chirps and the gurgling of streams. Sounds in this range are believed to help listeners relax. Available in a great profusion of styles, furin make lovely souvenirs. Be careful when transporting ceramic or glass furin, as they may break if not properly wrapped.