Around October last year I bought a hi-def TV, so that I could enjoy my PlayStation to its full potential. As I said before, I didn't really watch much TV in those days, so it didn't particularly bother me that I was only able to receive crappy, snowy, mono analog channels. As long as I had super-sharp katamaris and Big Daddies to look at I was happy.
Now that my Japanese has reached what I might describe as a low intermediate level, and my culture shock has subsided enough that it doesn't cause me emotional distress to see programmes that I can't understand, I stick on the TV quite regularly. The other night Marie and friends were talking about digital TV, complaining that the analog signal is being switched off soon, so some of them would have to buy new sets. This got me wondering why it is that my fancy new TV can't seem to receive digital.
Just now I donned both my tech and Japanese thinking caps, and realised that the TV was asking me to insert a card in order to receive digital. A quick look on Wikipedia informed me that for some obscure legal reason, although there are free digital terrestrial channels, to decrypt them the viewer must manually insert a card into their set, and their act of doing so constitutes agreement to various copyright conditions. Ok, how does one acquire such a card? They are given away free with every TV, I learned. I rummaged in the cupboard for the box - never throwing anything out has its advantages - and sure enough with all the manuals and warranties was a card. I stuck it in there and bingo bango, I now have crystal clear stereo HD, making me feel like quite the chump. I can turn on subtitles! There is even an option for English subtitles, but it seems that few shows utilise this facility.
Right now I'm attempting to get down with my students by watching Wan Piisu (One Piece), a popular anime about a swashbuckling pirate boy. It's pretty violent for a sunday morning kids show. Of course, what I should be doing is tidying my house in preparation for the gaijin tsunami that will hit it on thursday, when my friends from home arrive. Blog posts may become sporadic or indeed nonexistent for the next three weeks or so, but I'm sure there will be many stories to tell once my summer holiday is over.