Wednesday April 18, 9:41 a.m.
First off, you may have noticed not as many photos are going up in my last number of entries. Well, I got that dreaded message from Rogers....the provider service equivalent of the 2-minute warning in football when you're on the losing end of things. A few days ago, Rogers sent me the automatic message that I'd used up 75% of my bandwidth. In my 2 months with regular Internet access, that's the first time I got the word...most likely because of that abortive attempt at Skype group communications a couple of weeks ago with a potential employer....probably ate up my bandwidth like a buffet.
Anyways, I was watching the 9 p.m. news on NHK this morning, as I've usually done since I got back home. And NHK once again, over the past couple of days, confirmed what its top priority news items will always be. More than a potential North Korean missile launch, more than the latest machinations in Nagatacho, more than another psycho assault or killing....if the news item is either a major quake or the latest feat by an expat Japanese athlete, then it gets the automatic lead for anything from 5 to 15 minutes.
I can certainly understand the earthquakes. Earlier this morning, there was a major M8.7 tremor in the Indonesia area which sparked fears of tsunami. As Japan and quakes go hand in hand, you can bet that journalists and other citizens alike were at the very least curious about the aftermath. And yes, NHK led with that story for the first quarter of their broadcast, and then the second quarter was pretty much filled about the impending North Korean missile launch. As my former journalist English student once told me, if there is a quake in Japan which measures more than Shindo 5, every reporter will drop whatever they are covering and report to the TV studios immediately.
I'm a bit more jaded when it comes to Japanese news covering expat sports stars, though. It seems that Japanese broadcast journalism...at least...may have a bit of an inferiority complex. Or it may be acting like that obnoxious father with that SONY Handicam who just has to scream his encouragement to his kid during a Sports Day event. Case in point: the day before, NHK spent its first 15 minutes of precious news coverage on Yu Darvish, the bad boy prince/baseball pitcher in his Major League debut as a Texas Ranger. 2 or 3 onscreen talking heads gushed about the fact that Darvish has made it big in America....despite the fact that Japanese have been a regular presence on American baseball fields for almost 2 decades and despite the fact that Darvish was just very lucky that he managed to eke out a win after allowing a number of runs on just a handful of pitches early in the game....I'm sure some of the folks in the stands were experiencing Matsuzaka Sticker Shock. Even Darvish rebuffed a fan's complimentary tweet after the game by mildly admonishing the dude (or dudette) for saying nice things about that pitching performance. Not particularly an auspicious start. But then again, Japanese broadcast journalism seems to be more than satisfied enough knowing that one of their stars is working in a foreign constellation. NHK and the other stations are not interested in Major League Baseball per se; Japanese baseball keeps them busy enough. They always loved Ichiro getting those hits and fielding those plays despite the Mariners losing all the time. Ichiro could've been playing for the Cubs, and there would've been dozens of Japanese reporters cramming the stadium...just and only for him.
A lot more pressing news than a gangly Iranian-Japanese pitcher's mediocre debut performance to start off a prime time broacast.