TB.Pensar 11

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I’m going to Taipei this week, leaving on Thursday and back on Saturday. It’s just a short trip, but the kind that me and the wife enjoy taking. Also, you can usually find very inexpensive deals that include airfare and hotel, so it makes for a relatively cheap weekend getaway. We haven’t been traveling much, if at all, over the past 1-2 years, and one of our New Year’s resolutions has been to try and get some more travel time in this year. We may try and go to Okinawa next month, followed later by Cambodia, and then Europe.

As for Taipei, it’ll be my second time visiting the city, and I’m quite looking forward to returning to the night markets! Also, Yuko bought me a book on Taiwan cafes, so I’m hoping we’ll have enough time to check at least one or two. There was also a piece in a recent issue of MONOCLE on Taipei, so I’ll definitely be photocopying those pages and will check out the Yongkang Park and Daan area they recommend. It’ll also be our first trip with our new matching MUJI suitcases and small boston bags — she got them in black, me in brown.

I find myself watching more TV these days, and the main reason is that on December 31, just in time for all the holiday TV specials, I bought a mini UHF antenna in order to get a better reception for digital broadcasts. What a revelation! I’ve had an HDTV set for over a year now, but we were never able to get a good reception for terrestrial digital broadcasts. A few weeks ago, while I was at Sakuraya for something, I spotted some UHF antennas (what you need for digital broadcasts) and figured it would be worth a try. It’s a small set of “rabbit ears,” except that the one I got also includes a booster, which I guess increases the signal capturing. Well, it definitely worked, and since then we’ve been watching digital only.

All of this got me thinking recently that I should really write some sort of “in defense of Japanese TV” post, because honestly, it’s just so easy to bash Japanese TV, and most foreigners do it on a regular basis. But really, if you’re at all into comedy, I don’t believe there’s any other country that features more of it, including very regular appearances by the country’s funniest and most famous comedians. Also, although a lot of the variety shows can be (and are) a bore, you certainly would never see prime-time specials on a major network in North America that take you on scenic tours of cities and countries, which look absolutely stunning in HDTV. And of course, there’s the anime!