Letters from DAIBA FujiTV English Blog

Channel 4K

Jun 27, 2014

 Good day, mate.
 I hope you are well.
 
 I guess that 4K UHDTV, which is 4 times higher in resolution compared to the high definition TV we are watching now, is becoming one of the most popular topics in broadcasting technology in recent years, much like how the 3D-TV was a while ago. A few TV sets that possess 4K capability are already being sold as ordinary consumer electronics. For example, you can watch and enjoy magnificent 4K-sized programs with such TV sets plus a Blu-ray disk player. 3D technology is being used often and is popular in motion pictures including animation, and many viewers wear unique glasses to enjoy them at movie theatres. On the other hand, we still have some disadvantages in frequency band width or digital compressions in televising 3D programs on its way from stations to viewers via satellite and terrestrial systems.
 

 Please let me introduce in this post that the 4K UHDTV test broadcast, “Channel 4K” has been started by Next Generation Television & Broadcasting Promotion Forum (NexTV-F: http://www.nextv-f.jp (Japanese only)) via Japanese satellites from June 2nd, 2014. This means that it is becoming possible for all people living in Japan to watch such exciting content at home. Unfortunately, most Japanese TV sets don’t contain tuners for “Channel 4K” at the moment, so the dedicated digital satellite tuners are required outside. The tuner is scheduled to go on sale June 26th. I was sorry to hear this because it didn't arrive in time to watch the FIFA World Cup Championship 2014.
 

 Recently, the Technology Research and Development Department at Fuji TV prepared an in-house 4K UHD TV viewing demonstration to show “Channel 4K” to its employees. My colleague and I went there to watch it. There, a Sony 4K UHDTV set over 55 inches in screen size and a Sharp 4K digital tuner were set up within the viewing and listening room. The tuner with the HDD looks much like  the HDTV HDD recorder. It is easy to connect between a dish antenna, a tuner and a TV set, much like setting up cable TV.

 The broadcasting test is the first nation-wide televising usually aired on CH. 502 on SKY PerfecTV! Premium Service from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. 7 day a week. I think that the super high definition allows me to feel the details and richness of picture better, especially for sports and nature-type programs. Therefore, I felt more of the “you-are-actually-there” feeling by it than the previously launched HDTV (16:9) instead of SDTV(4:3).
 
 In Japan, I hear that a lot of 4K UHDTV sets will be sold. I recommend watching the picture near 4K TV spots: http://www.catv-jcta.jp/item/4K_list20140612.pdf (Japanese only)
 
 See ya.
 Hooroo!
 
Jimmie

 

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Station in early morning

Jun 3, 2014


 Good day, mate.
 I hope you are well.
 
 Some people always begin their actions very early in the morning in Japan.
 
 Nowadays, as you know, it is easy to buy food and drinks at a convenience store like a mini-supermarket open 24 hours in Japan. But how about the Kiosks that serve to a lot of passengers getting on trains? Are they also operating in the stations from early in the morning? I’m wondering if they also work the same hours as a convenience store.
 
 Within the last decade, I think that a lot of Kiosks in stations are being turned into convenience stores under the IC deposit card promotion by JR and other private railway companies. We can soon buy not only newspapers, magazines or gum but also food, snacks and alcohol drinks if they are realized on a concourse.


 One day, I slowly got off the Yamanote-line train at Shinagawa to get on the first “Nozomi” super express train, the Tokaido Shinkansen bound for Hakata, Kyusyu at 6 a.m. This year, the Tokaido Shinkansen will be celebrating its 50th anniversary. Do you know about the fact that the Shinkansen don’t usually run from midnight to 6 a.m.? I guess that it may be due to the loud noise that would be heard by residences in its vicinity, or perhaps because JR Central needs to maintenance its railways, security and safety systems during this time.

 Look at this photo!
 I found that one of the Bento shops had already opened for the day’s first train customers before 6 a.m. What a surprise! That staff must have had to prepare from approximately 5 a.m. for the Bento shop to open at 6 a.m. I felt regret for thinking that I may not be able to buy any food at the station. I had already brought a pack of sandwiches at a local store before taking the Yamanote-line train.
 
 But, food never bothered me anyway…!? (read it the “Frozen” way)
 
 You can easily guess my behavior on a reserved seat after the train left…
 ...taking a nap.

Hooroo!

Jimmie
 

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Ookunitama shrine

May 9, 2014


 Good day, mate.
 I hope you are well.
 
 Golden week in Japan is a long week of holidays in spring. Unfortunately, the holidays are placed like stepping stones on the calendar this year. Since my family had known about this beforehand, we gave up on a long-term trip during this year’s holidays. But it seems better that a lot of Japanese people went out of their houses to have fun outdoors compared to last year, doesn't it?

 One morning, I got off a train at Fuchu in Tokyo for sightseeing. (Well, maybe not really sightseeing.) I felt that this area downtown near the station had changed especially due to the elevation of Fuchu station on the Keio line, or the redevelopment project. I have known this area since 2 or 3 decades ago because I am an alumnus to the university located nearby.
 
 By the way, the land name “Fuchu” means “the provincial capital to old tax prefectural areas from Nara era (710- A.C.),” so there are still lots of places named “Fuchu” all over Japan. Fuchu in Tokyo seems to be the capital of “Musashi-no-kuni,” one of the older prefectures. Ookunitama shrine is one of the most famous places in Fuchu. I am surprised to hear that it was established in the same era, the Nara era. In fact, it is said that this shrine has more than 1,300 years of tradition and history.

 Toward the main gate of Ookunitama shrine, you can walk through a nice row of Japanese zelkova trees from Fuchu station. It felt really good to go there under the sunshine filtered through new spring foliage. Crossing under the main gate, I prayed for my family’s safety and peace in front of the shrine at last. “Koma-kurabe” which is an event where you choose the most appropriate horse to present to the imperial court was held in Ookunitama shrine‘s “Reitai-sai”, one of the biggest and holiest festivals of shrines from April 30th to May 6th. The tradition has continued for more than 1,000 years. I think that there are relations between modern horse racing and this shrine that has existed mystically from many years ago that I don’t know about.

 Afterwards, I walked to the other famous place, the JRA Tokyo course. On the way to the race track, I found the memorial tower for horses who died due to racing. Racing is very tough for horses, and some suffer trouble like bone fracture of feet, who may then be humanely put to sleep in a race. I am praying with my hands together.
 
 See ya.
 Hooroo.             
 
Jimmie

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Japan’s Castles

Apr 15, 2014

 Good day, mate.
 I hope you are well.
 
 Now that the cherry blossoms have bloomed, we actually feel like spring has arrived. In other words, the best season for traveling in Japan has begun at last, towards golden week which is a period of spring holidays from the end of April to the beginning of May. By the way, I am wondering if you can guess what the purpose of a trip is. 

 Some Japanese go on trips to see the ruins of a castle in Japan.

 I think that it is too difficult to count how many castle ruins there are in Japan. From the Sengoku (provincial wars) era, there were a lot of main castles with commercial towns and small front-line castles for defense purposes built in each territory. Most of the main castles and front-line castles from the time could not be easily seen today because they have been abandoned or destroyed by battles or family denominations. The castles with stone walls that we are able to see today are most likely from the Edo era.

 By the way, I would like to introduce one of my favorite castles, the one I was most impressed by, the Ozu-jo in Ehime prefecture. It is unique and wonderful for its wooden tower keep was rebuilt in 2004 using the initial old-fashioned architectural method following the consideration of some old drafts, images and investigations amongst a lot of modern day craftsmen.

 

 The Ozu-jo is becoming famous as the first historical attempt to build a 4th-floor tower keep with wood under Japan’s Building Standards Act after World War II. Although I visited there about one year ago, I was very surprised with the beauty of this castle, and the feelings of the people who wanted to build something perfect under tremendous efforts. I am hoping that this traditional wooden construction method can be kept for the next generation.


 Looking at the attached photo, I deeply feel that a composition of wooden tower keep on stone walls with some cherry blossom trees in spring expresses one of the best images of Japan’s traditions.
 


 See ya.
 Hooroo.

Jimmie

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Local theater in Tokyo

Mar 18, 2014

 Good day, mate.
 I hope you are well.

 By the way, have you recently watched movies or TV programs at theaters and not at home with a DVD or Blu-ray disk? To watch a movie at a theater costs 1,800 JPY per adult as a regular admission fee in Japan. I know there are discounts available for senior persons, couples, ladies, and movie day. There are lots of cinema complexes, and we can make on-line booking for preferred seats of a desired time and date beforehand, under a system established in Japan. 

 There is a local theater near my house called “Meguro Cinema,” where I randomly go for “Nihon-date”, a double feature of movies I want to watch because it costs cheaper than any other major theater and I can walk there easily. Such local theaters, which typically have a small capacity of less than 150 seats with old-fashioned film projections, are often called “Meiga-za,” meaning fine cinema theaters in Japan. Their owners choose a selection of movies they like after major road show. Nowadays, it is a little sad that you can count local theaters like “Meiga-za” in Tokyo’s 23 wards all with one hand.

 My desire for watching a movie arises from the line-up combination I want, not from the movie’s quality or honor. One day, I went there for “Nihon-date”, for the movies “Diana” and “Jobs” which were made in 2013. I had never watched movies there after a new digital projector had been installed last February. I was happy and relieved to feel the same atmosphere as before.



 I love this theater’s policy of prohibiting eating and drinking or banning the use of cellphones to allow watching a movie more fun and comfortable. I deeply agree that viewers should not be allowed to make any noise like the rustling of plastic bags. Then there are the hand-made brochures with discount coupons for “Nihon-date” movies. It is very interesting for me to feel the owner’s heart and soul through his passion for movies, especially from this brochure and ad board. 

 Anyway, I always want to value this theater, and I don't want it to disappear in the near future. 

 See ya.
 Hooroo. 

Jimmie


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