Monday, March 28, 2011

Variety is the spice of life

I'd really like to get back to blogging about quilting but there's always something else to talk about.

If you were to think about what would change in your life after a major earthquake, you could predict a few things. Gasoline shortages, blackouts, runs on food. Those occurrences are actually fairly foreseeable. But did you ever think how the TV might change?

As you may imagine, whenever we aren't on blackouts I have the TV on throughout the day. News updates, information about radiation, emergency earthquake evacuation procedures, warnings about tsunami, heart-breaking or heart warming stories about the people in northern Japan. I don't much like TV but I confess, except for sleeping time the TV is usually on (not saving electricity there). For the first three or four days we left the TV on 24 hours a day and Tetsu slept in front of it.

Immediately after the earthquake, Japan news went to reporting earthquake disasters etc. which meant all regular programming was canceled. That's not a surprise. But what crept up on us quietly was the way the commercials changed. For awhile almost no commercials because advertisers didn't want to be seen as money hungry during the crisis. This left large blanks where the commercials had been so a non-profit organization stepped in and started running their moralistic commercials.

Actually AC (Advertising Council of Japan) has some very nice commercials. They are always uplifting, always aimed at bringing back traditional virtues. "Hug your children." "To make a friend, be a friend." "Take responsibility for your health, get a checkup." In the past, I have admired AC's commercials.

BUT... suddenly all of Japan broadcasting had (has) commercial time slots with no advertisers so AC ran its commercials. Let me tell you, you can only take so much of a good thing! "Get a gynaecological exam." commercial seen in repetition at least 30 or 40 times a day (I kid you not!) can drive you crazy! Multiply that by two weeks and you have a population that is having sleeping problems not only because of the disaster situation but also because of the so-called "good" commercial jingles and messages.

I've been complaining to Tetsu about ACs commercials. "I didn't like the old ones but at least there was a variety!"

Last Thursday, I had the TV on when Y-kun came for English (early again). At a commercial break AC came on with another of their virtuous commercials (I've got this one memorized too.) This commercial shows a teenager working up the courage to help an old woman up some stairs.

"We can't always see what someone is considering. But we can see consideration."

Y-kun piped up,

"The TV is showing that commercial all the time these days. Someone REALLY wants us to learn consideration!"

Yes, they do, and yes it is important to be considerate. I think we've all got the message.

Thankfully AC has frantically made some new commercials encouraging the Japanese people to stay strong in their rebuilding. I've almost got these memorized too.

(picture from the Internet)

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