Nippon Hōsō Kyōkai (NHK)

Japan, like many countries, has a national public broadcaster known as NHK or Nippon Hōsō Kyōkai. However, keeping in line with countries like Canada, with its CBC, or Great Britain, with its BBC, Japan takes its national broadcaster quite seriously. This is seen in the fact that every household is visited by a representative from NHK on a somewhat regular basis to voluntarily pay a user fee for watching what equates to the only "free" television in Japan.

When we first arrived in Japan we had no intention of watching TV in a language we didn't understand and so when the NHK man showed up we simply pantomimed that we didn't have a TV. This was not entirely true. It was true that we didn't watch it at the time when he showed up, but we have since taken to watching Eテレ, or Educational Television, in the mornings. It has become so routine that Laura knows when a certain song comes on that she has to head to the bus with Theo or they will be late. I will admit to watching it myself some evenings if for no other reason then to practice my listening skills by trying to understand a fraction of what is being said.

There are many aspects of Japanese TV that both astound, befuddle and amuse me at the same time. Like the make shift cardboard signs to show information instead of flashy computer graphics that we are all used to seeing at home. There are also a number of shows that are watched by a panel whose reaction is shown in the top left hand corner of the screen so people might have the correct response to a situation, and by correct I simply mean the same reaction as everyone else... so as not to appear different. [please read this as a gigantic generalization]

However I have to say my absolute favorite part of watching NHK has to be the children's shorts shown on Eテレ. I will end this post with a sample of some of the best ones I have come across...

1 comment:

Carol said...

The reaction box is a fun idea. (You should be chuckling now. Increase to belly-laugh. Be slightly puzzled. Ah! Now I understand!) I like the "voluntary" payment. So Japanese. Imagine an American/Canadian person doing that job. It makes me remember the horror of Census follow-ups.