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Thursday, June 27, 2002

LIFELINES

Newshungry TV viewers fighting for English service


To start off, we have a request from "Friends of Foxnews," who are working to keep Foxnews, the up and coming challenge to CNN and BBC and the only non-edited English language news program on SkyPerfecTV here in Japan.

I must confess that I keep it on nearly 24 hours a day at work and at home, although I stumbled upon it purely by accident. It's surely the best kept secret in Japan.

Apparently Foxnews is scheduled to go off the air at the end of July unless they can get more subscribers and or companies to place ads on the channel, which to date has none.

When I was going to school in Los Angeles, there were three Japanese TV networks, all supported by Japanese companies in the community. When you think about it, there should be at least one channel out of the dozens for the international community, with local news and information presented properly.

If you are interested in keeping Foxnews on the air, you can contact them at E-mail: Savefoxnews@keikyo.com.

A reader wants to know the answer to a question we often get at The Japan Helpline. What do you do when you have a visa that you got for one company and you change jobs while your visa is still good.

That is a tough one, and we always have to answer very diplomatically. We checked with Immigration and the answer is "you must go in and have your visa changed, reflecting the new employer."

But the practical side of it is that, as long as you are still working, you can wait until your visa comes up for renewal and then change companies at that time.

We asked if anyone knew places to donate used English books to and we got plenty of replies.

First, from Nathan Lewis in the U.S., who says The Tokyo American Club Library takes used English books. You can call them at 03-3224-3678.

Next, the Waseda University International Center Library at 03-5286-9734 accepts used books for their international students and Dobutsutachi no Kai, an organization that works to protect animals, takes them to support their activities. You can contact them at E-mail: herodd@inv.co.jp.

In the same vein, if you have any unused prepaid cards -- JR, NTT, KDD, Subway etc. -- you can send them to the "Ryugakusei Project," which helps International Students in Japan, at Box 833, Tokyo 100-8781.

Regarding Angela's column last week about buying a new computer, and the possibility of having to pay a small conversion charge when changing from a Japanese to an English operating system for Apple computers, reader Peter Gauthier helpfully writes: "Concerning Apple computers, for the past year the language of the OS of all new Apple computers can be changed by the user (to English, French, Spanish etc.) in about 3 mouse clicks. There is no 'conversion' required."

It's possible that some staff may not be aware of this, so if you are buying a Macintosh computer, be sure to have the conversion carried out for you in-store (in about 10 seconds) before you leave. And, whatever you do, don't send your machine back to the factory -- it's not necessary.

Now some "quickies."

For a bank that will help you, even if you are a foreigner, try Michinoku Bank, a local bank from Aomori in northern Japan, but truly an 'international bank,' at 03-3661-8020 or E-mail: Tokyo@michinokubank.com. Talk to Ms. Daidoji.

Someone to move your things? Call Mike the Mover at 03-5932-7777; Mobile: 090-1217-4445, or E-mail: sidebyside_jp@hotmail.com.

And to finish, a quick thank you to our readers. We must be doing something right. Thanks for all the nice compliments, ideas, suggestions, tips -- keep them coming. We're here to pass them on.

Reader Rebecca Marck writes: "I used to love Jean Pearce's column -- cut out every one of them for years and cached them in special notebooks. Now there's someone to fill the gap -- hooray. I'm now clipping and stashing your Japan Times columns."

Another reader, Angelina Angeles, says: "Your new column in the Japan Times is surely a blessing," and from reader Rudolf Leis: "Your information is very good and will help me further. Thank you very much. Very interesting to read that a gentle inquiry, like your fathers (about pensions for foreigners), can start the ball rolling. Even with Japanese bureaucrats."

Just like we thought -- the best advice and ideas come from our readers.

E-mail: lifelines@japantimes.co.jp


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