My husband and I are often working in the dining room during the day and the TV is usually on. A few days ago, 10 minutes of a 15 minute news program was taken up by the story of a missing 9- year-old girl. We both commented how special it is that the national news is taking so much time on this kind of story and the indication that this is very unusual in Japan.
The next 5 minutes were global headlines and a little campaigning for upcoming local elections in Tokyo.
The next show was a longer news program (like 20/20 or Dateline in the US) and the topic was a comedian who will retire to focus on being healthier to conceive a child. That was a 40-minute news program.
3 days later, I was playing with our daughter and the news was on. As usual, I wasn’t paying any attention to the TV, but my husband said, “they found the girl. Some guy in the building took her.” I showed concerned and inquired a little more about the news segment I’d missed. He left the room to get something and the next news story was about the comedian retiring to conceive a baby and going into detail about national statistics and Japanese women waiting to have babies. Then 5 minutes about Sochi Olympics, and another 5 minutes for other global headlines, Tokyo campaigning, and a brief comment on Thai elections.
It’s beautiful that they found that girl. It’s feels funny that this is the most important thing to report on followed by a woman’s choice to put her health and fertility ahead of a prominent public career: not just for one news segment or even one day, but really this was top news for three days. Japan is a generally apathetic and isolated country, and I’ve learned that even if I watched the news every day, all day, I probably wouldn’t know much more about the world or current events.
Print news is different, of course, but I think less and less are reading now. So if you rely on television, you’re totally isolated. Is this simple and beautiful? Keeping things at home and relevant mostly to your own country and area? Or incredibly ethno-centric and potentially dangerous?
…on a different note, I just wrote this while waiting at the doctor for a scheduled appointment. I waited 45 minutes to be seen for 10, but I only paid the equivalent of 2 US dollars thanks to my national health.
Indeed it is an interesting place to live and there is good and bad I. Everything or everyone. That’s not to stop us discussing what can be better, though. 🙂