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Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2005

Readers' Write Back

Last week's mock list of ways to deal with the NHK man caused some concern over at the broadcaster, which believed the article may have been taken seriously by some. We'd just like to clarify that we weren't in fact encouraging readers to break the law, and to share the thoughts of some readers who felt we were being unfair on the scandal-tainted national broadcaster.

Good solution

How about paying him? It invariably works, as he goes off promptly after receiving said fee. A good tip is to pay a couple of months at a time -- that way you see even less of him. -- Ginny

Nasty

Many years ago I found the perfect way to keep the NHK license fee collector from ringing my doorbell. I pay by direct debit from my bank. -- M. H.

Unfair

I think it is unfair to characterize NHK as a producer of documentaries about "cheese-making, squirrels, and Finland."

If you have access to NHK's BS channel, you'll find well-produced, thought-provoking documentaries on everything from the condition of African nations in 2005 and the history of great works of art and religion, to an ongoing series on the history of evolutionary theory.

NHK brings an unrivaled depth of experience, technical resources, and worldwide cooperative relationships to its work.

Certainly there are areas where NHK is weak -- a consequence of trying to be all things to all viewers, while maintaining certain standards of taste and self-censorship that seem a bit anachronistic to more jaded modern audiences.

Still, yen for, yen the quantity, quality, and variety of NHK's documentary programming deserves more credit than it gets. And what does the Japan Times have against Finland, anyway? -- Stephen

Wind power

In the aftermath of a typhoon, my TV antenna was blown over and away. The next time the NHK guy showed up, I told him what had happened. He then kindly pointed out that I therefore shouldn't have to pay for my significantly more expensive NHK BS. I saved 4,800 yen, and immediately alerted friends to their "broken antennae."

He did hand me a rather formidable looking brochure on new NHK policies, but I told him that I can't read kanji and asked if he could bring me an English version. I haven't seen him since. -- A

Persistence

I always listen very carefully and then shake my head and tell him slowly and loudly, "No thank you, I already have a TV." He usually keeps trying and I have sometimes semi-dragged him inside, pointed at the TV and said, "See -- I have a TV, I don't need another one." You have to stick with it, but eventually he gets frustrated and leaves. -- John

The obvious

Just tell the NHK person you don't have a TV. If he demands to check your apartment (which he has no right to do), tell him to get lost and close the door.

I've been contacted by the NHK man twice -- both times I told him no TV; both times he has left. -- David



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