Thursday, February 23, 2006

Olympic Coverage

For the record; in Japanese, the olympics are called orinpiku.

Last week, I had the disadvantage of being airborne on my way to the USofA for the opening of the 2006 winter olympics in Torino. But I got to watch highlights of what looked like very cool opening ceremonies on the in-flight programming. Thanks NHK!

Once in the States, olympic coverage made a turn for the worse. Sorry NBC, you are terrible at broadcasting the olympics. I've gotten used to watching Canadian olympic coverage. You know, the kind where they show the events, let you know who the frontrunners are, and even show you the winning runs/performances/whatever even if they aren't Canadians!

Not like NBC, where they splice together the highlights of American atheletes and that's about all you see. Admittedly, I was only watching evening coverage. I had better things to do, like sit in the sun and go sea kayaking. Even if they were showing other athletes, NBC was constantly cutting to commercial. I understand that the olympics are a big ticket item for advertisers, but is it really too much to ask to watch two consecutive bobsled runs? I suppose so.

I was a little concerned about what Japanese coverage of the olympics would be like. Turns out, I didn't have a lot to worry about. Sadly, I haven't seen any hockey, but I guess I wasn't missing much of that either. There has been some though. On the way back from last weekend's musical rehearsal I almost caught the last few minutes of the Canada-Switzerland game.

Imagine, if you will, a car full of three ALTs and all the crap they need for a weekend of musical rehearsals. I'm talking futons, sleeping bags, overnight stuff, cowboy boots, gangster hats, etc. Now add another ALT and a new snowboard. The car was packed. It was a good thing I decided to hold off another week on buying a new snowboard. We were dropping off one ALT and her snowboard at a department store where her ride home was waiting for her. Being Canadians, they were upstairs in electronics watching the hockey game. I heard that, and much to the dismay of my car-mates (and to the sounds of taunting) I ran up to watch the last few minutes. Sadly, I was too late. No olympic hockey for me.

Anyways, back to coverage commentary.

Coverage here is very Japanese-centered, but that isn't suprising. All olympic coverage is nationalistic. But even though the Japanese athletes have been doing terribly so far, I been able to watch entire events, and see the performances of the winning athletes. For big events, I get to see the whole thing. And for events that Japan has a good chance in, I get to watch endless documentaries, discussions and replays. Speaking of which, the newscasters have just informed me that there are only six hours until the women's figure skating long program. And returned to live coverage of the women's figure skating practice. Okay, so maybe it's not the best coverage ever.

At least commercial breaks here feature Keifer Sutherland shilling scary looking energy bars (Warning: This site is very noisy and in Japanese).

I'm sure I could watch all kinds of live event coverage if I wanted to, but I won't be staying up -- I had my own challenging endurance event this morning. I call it hoikushou.


The kids are super-cute and super-genki. Or as my supervisor calls them, "crazy boys and girls". You have to keep them busy so they don't give you a kancho. Although my supervisor also showed me his method for getting little kids not to kancho you -- a dunt on the head. His technique features a fist with the middle knuckle extended for maximum kancho-stopping power. So far I haven't had to use it.

Today I kept the 30 of them busy with "Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes", my new favorite little kid lesson. The picture is the kids practicing a song and dance before I started playing with them. It's too hard to teach and take pictures at the same time. And I'm usually too busy playing tag anyways.

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