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TV broadcast 'heads up' ...

Posted by Dave Bull at 4:45 PM, February 1, 2009

I got a call from NHK the other day - another invitation to appear on one of their programs. Those things don't normally don't take up too much time, but this one is a bit different - there is a short 'Opinion/Viewpoint' program (視点・論点 'Shi-ten, Ron-ten') broadcast every weekday evening, in the ten-minute slot just before the 11:00 evening news begins. They're giving me a shot at it ...

They've chosen a theme for the week - 'wa no keishou' - which is a bit difficult to translate directly. 'Wa' refers to Japan, and keishou is 'succession'. Seems they want to focus on the idea of Japanese traditions being kept up by foreigners; all five of the guests that week are people like myself - foreigners doing something 'traditional'.

Ten minutes - with no interviewer ... just me, talking about whatever I want (obviously must be related to the theme). And one 'rule' - no editing; the whole thing has to go in one take. (They want the impression of 'straight talk' directly to the viewers).

Obama got 15 minutes or so for his presentation a couple of weeks ago ... I 'only' have ten ... too bad! :-)

The taping will be this coming Friday, and broadcast is scheduled for the evening of Tuesday the 10th. I've sort of got a 'script' ready, but the last thing I want to do is put it on the teleprompter and boringly read it. But to keep the thing under control - and to end it well, and at exactly the right time - without a script, will be difficult.

Sadako and I had a kind of 'run through' this afternoon, and it was a disaster. Things I can usually talk about for hours on end, become so difficult in such a self-conscious situation. But I'm booked now, and there's no place to hide!


Following comment posted by: Marc Kahn on February 2, 2009 12:46 AM


Since you will no doubt be giving your presentation in Japanese, that means that most of your English-speaking constituents won't have a chance to enjoy the final result. Also, since you're having trouble coming up with a "natural" feel to it, perhaps as part of your preparation you could explore the ground you want to cover in English and record that so that we could have a look/hear. What say?


Following comment posted by: Lana Lambert on February 2, 2009 1:47 AM

Good luck! At this rate I would think "old souls" need all the help they can get, foreign or not, when it comes to preventing the decay of traditional techniques for doing things.

Following comment posted by: Diana Moll on February 2, 2009 1:57 AM

What an honor. Keep practicing, it increases the comfort zone and swings the meter back toward natural. Can you have visual aids or is it just your talking head? Good luck from from the CA side of the Pacific rim.

Following comment posted by: Tibi Chelcea on February 2, 2009 2:16 AM

Congratulations for the invitation to the show, and good luck with the presentation. Shortly after reading your post, I was listening to the latest podcast from "Studio 360" (http://audio.wnyc.org/studio/studio013009a.mp3 ), and they had a bunch of stories about "Old Japan" and the relationship with the new one. In particular, there was one segment about a couple from US that was keeping alive the tea ceremony (comes about halfway through the show). Found the whole thing quite serendipitous, so thought to share it.

Following comment posted by: eli griggs on February 2, 2009 3:34 AM

Dave, will they allow you to have some 'props'? It might be easer for you to explain yourself if you have your tools, paper and table with you so you can act out what your talking about if you have a progression of task to preform to meter/pace your progression of talking points. It would also allow you to have an outline of notes/points to cover in front of you so you don't miss anything.

In communications classes in school, I found this a easier way to pace an instructive talk assignment.

Good Luck.

Following comment posted by: Dave on February 2, 2009 8:42 AM

explore the ground you want to cover in English and record that so that we could have a look/hear

Sure, why not? I worked out a draft of it last night, and made a test recording.

Getting this smooth isn't much problem - sitting at my desk, reading a script on the screen ... and in my native language. It's going to be a different story down at the studio on Friday!

Here's the mp3 file.

I'm also assuming that I'm going to be able to have some prints on the desk, to hold up and show people ...

Couple of things: this is not the same content that I would use if making this presentation in English. The opening for one, discusses the way that two particular Japanese terms are used; this has no meaning in English at all. And the way that the term 'traditional' is used is somewhat different from English (the Mozart stuff ...).

But it should serve to give an idea of what I am trying to say ... Comments very welcome!

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