Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Meanwhile, Life Goes on.

(Regular blogging to resume. But not now, sorry.)

TV programming has returned to normal. Cable never wavered from their regular fare—no choice, unless they went off the air completely—satellite TV I think depended on the channel and hour, but now, UHF and VHF are back to the usual evening fare. So now you on Tokyo MX you get Ranma 1/2 instead of Governor Ishihara ragging Renho—a la Magic/Michael/Ichiro IMHO—and the cub reporters who cover the Tokyo beat, the other local UHF channels are back to their own animes and teleshopping programs and the national channels feature what appears to be their usual 7PM slapstick variety shows and the like. NHK alone continues earthquake coverage, which is only sensible given their mandatory fee charging privilege.

This trend was evident yesterday, but some networks had held back then. Also expect earthquake/tsunami coverage to come back with a vengeance during cheap, daytime coverage. But the trend is clear.

There’s nothing wrong with this. It’s only human. I’m just taking note of this for the sake of posterity. And now, the Emperor has spoken. I think all this means that whatever happens in Fukushima, it’s our 8.15 and we have to move on.

And speaking of posterity, those of you living in Tokyo, have you noticed how the advertising in trains had changed the last month or so before 3.11? There were still artfully disguised gaps, but there is little the of self-generated advertisement—you know, the space-eating stuff from subsidiaries and sister companies within those railway-centric chaebols—covering the revenue shortage. That is something to keep an eye on going forward.


Martin J Frid said...

More importantly, have you noticed how amazingly responsible and customer-oriented the trains have been post-3-11? They post their schedules online, there are plenty of train staff to help you at stations (and they have closed down lights to save electricity).

We are clearly heading towards a power-down Japan.

Jun Okumura said...

Yes, Martin. I’ve noticed. And the passengers have been persevering too. More generally, I was working in Manhattan on 9.11 and there was an incredible coming together at the time too. There was some commentary, some of it funny, about the civility of the usually in-your-face New Yorkers. Here, it’s like this: People inconvenienced by the lack of electricity in the Kanto area are saying, we can’t complain when think about the survivors of the earthquake and tsunami, while the survivors—even small children—tell reporters that they consider themselves lucky when they think about the people who did not survive. It’s been gaman, gaman everywhere, reinforced by the visual media. Other than the “panic” buying, I guess, which RD likens to everyone, willing and unwilling, standing up in a stadium because everyone else is doing so.

Mary Witzl said...

That 'gaman' spirit has affected people outside Japan too: I doubt I'll ever complain about our leaky roof or mouldy walls again.

I know things aren't perfect in Japan, but whenever I hear about how well people there are coping after this crisis, I feel such pride.

Jun Okumura said...

Mary: Thanks. But I find myself wishing we were more open with our problems. And also allow the TEPCO folks to say what they’re really thinking. Sometimes, gaman can be a little too confining.

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