Man, remember CDs? For a time, they were the best and essentially only way to get your music fix, before digital distribution basically steamrolled CD sales worldwide. Now everybody uses those CD spindles—which once held dozens of CDs containing hundreds of hours of music—to keep their bagels from going stale or whatever.
Unsurprisingly, though, in change-averse Japan, CDs still do a brisk business, although sales are certainly waning and it’s only a matter of time before the Japanese, too, decide to collectively microwave their CD collections once and for all (this being the most fun way to dispose of your CDs). And one interesting side-effect of Japan’s CD business entering its twilight years is that some rather unexpected, and sometimes downright odd, albums have been stealthily cracking the top 10 charts.
For example, this CD containing a soothing collection of Buddhist monks reciting sutras.
Making the CD’s presence on the Oricon Album Ranking Top 10 even more strange is that it’s actually sold in bookstores, not CD shops, as a bonus CD attachment to a short book of sutras. The “CD Book,” Kokoro wo Totonoeru Kouyasan no Okyou CD Book, extols the many virtues and even health benefits of listening to the soothing sounds of sutras (called “okyou” in Japanese) being read aloud by groups of monks, and it looks like Japanese consumers are eating it up—with the book selling over 50,000 copies at time of writing.
The top three beneficial effects of listening to okyou, as listed in the book and testified to in reviews, are:
It calms your nerves
The book recommends popping in the CD at work (presumably into your computer, since, seriously, no one on this earth owns a CD player anymore), any time you’re feeling overwhelmed by nagging bosses, looming deadlines, or the guy next to you that’s always surreptitiously picking his nose at his desk.
More okyou for your listening pleasure
It helps you sleep
Certainly, okyou can have a sort of white noise effect, blending into the background as it helps you to drift off to a restful sleep. It’s kind of like one of those rainforest sounds CDs, except, probably, in this one an occasional, loud gong jolts you awake a few times throughout the night.
It can even improve your physical well-being
Your mileage will probably vary on this one, depending on how much you buy into spiritualism and/or the mind-body connection of listening to music, but the book says listening to okyou can have a soothing effect on the heart and body, relaxing tension in the body and maybe even helping you feel better when you’re ill or heartbroken. There’s no mention of listening to okyou boosting your sexual prowess, unfortunately, but if you want to go ahead and believe that, we’re not going to rain on your parade here.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like Amazon offers international shipping, but you can give it a shot yourself and see how it goes by clicking here. Those living in or visiting Japan, on the other hand, should be able to find it easily enough at a nearby bookstore.