Local television stations include NHK, NHK Educational, RCC (TBS), HOME (Asahi), TSS (Fuji), and HTV (NTV).
BS, the NHK Satellite service is also available. Foreign movies are shown frequently on TV. There is also bilingual news, sports and other TV shows. In order to hear the English soundtrack your TV, VCR, or audio system needs a bilingual switch (音声切り替え – おんせいきりかえ – onsei kirikae). Most shows are not bilingual, but Japanese TV almost always has closed caption and it is always good to practice your Japanese.
Note: The news at 7 on NHKG is always available in English.
At first you can get around five basic channels for free, but some day you may get a visit from the NHK fee collector, as technically it should be paid for. If you own a TV and actually watch it you should pay them, but be careful to know what you are paying for.
Usually a representative knocks on your door to ask for your bank account information. After that, money will be taken out of your account every month. You are also asked to pay for the money you owe them up until the time they track you down, so it may come out to quite a hefty sum. It has been known for some collectors to go through an ALT’s school to set up direct debits, so make sure you know exactly what you are signing or stamping at work.
A new satellite dish and tuner cost about ¥40,000. Installation costs about ¥20,000. The compulsory NHK fee is about ¥930 per month. For installing the equipment, your house or apartment should be facing southwest; if not it will cost more. Some mansions already have satellite dishes installed. There are 3 services: NHK BS, WowWow (info call 0570-008080), and Sky Perfect (call 0570-039-888 and press 9 for English assistance).
Radio is not very popular in Japan, and the spectrum is very limited. Hiroshima has three AM and two FM stations. If you are lucky enough to pick it up, the American army base at Iwakuni broadcasts on the Far East Network (FEN), AM 1575 Khz.
Of course if you would like to listen to music or news, there are a plethora of podcasts, internet radio stations and streaming music services available. However if you want CD’s, you can rent them at some video rental places, or buy them at Tower Records (downtown Hiroshima, top floor of PARCO dept. store), on Amazon.co.jp, or at used CD stores.
The book stores Maruzen or Kinokuniya carry the Japan Times. The Daily Yomiuri can be found at Hiroshima Station. You can have the following English language dailies delivered:
Daily Yomiuri 0120-431158
Japan Times 0120-036242
Asahi Evening News/Weekly 0120-456-371
Mainichi Daily News/Weekly 03-3212-0885
Note: The Japan Times offers a free 7 day trial subscription if you are interested.
English Magazines and Newsletters
English magazines from abroad can be found at Kinokuniya, Maruzen, most other bookshops, and Tower Records. There are also newsletters such as the “HIC 通信” available at the Hiroshima International Center or the IEL. In addition, GetHiroshima is a magazine to help you fully enjoy your time in Hiroshima. It is packed with all sorts of information and is published 4 times a year.
There’s a fair variety of books at the major bookstores in the city (see the Hiroshima City guide section). You can also get English books on amazon.co.jp. Another fantastic website is http://www.bookdepository.com, which has everything and offers free international shipping!
Check your local section for more information on movie theaters in your area.
*A word of caution: while some theaters offer foreign films, some are only available dubbed in Japanese! Foreign movies with Japanese subtitles are listed as 字幕版 jimaku-ban, movies that will be dubbed in Japanese are listed as 吹替版 fukikae-ban.
Going to the movies can be a bit expensive (around ¥1,800), but there are some special discount days. Check with your local theater. Later showings after 8pm also have a reduced “late show” price.