Feb 23, 2018
The tradition of TV in Japanese families
Every few months the time comes for visiting the Japanese family of my husband in the countryside. OK, to tell the true, it is a small city close to Shizuoka. For me, living in the center of Tokyo, the small city really looks like the countryside, which is not a problem at all because I love the nature. Unfortunately, my parents in law don't like to go out that much. That's why we are sitting mostly in their home during the visit and eat, talk or just be lazy.
But there is one thing I always realize when I visit my parents in law or other Japanese families at their home. The TV is always running even nobody is watching or nobody is in the room. Also, if guests come for a visit, the TV is still on. It is really strange to me, especially given that I rarely watch any TV. First of all, Japanese TV is a nightmare for me (like for many other foreigners) and also, if I really want to watch something, I will watch it online and really focus on it, the opposite than in Japan.
I always have the feeling that the TV for Japanese people is more to give the feeling of not being alone at home. Even when we are sitting together for lunch or dinner with the whole family, the TV is always running in the background for the entertainment, especially for the older generations. Listening and talking to each other seems to be very tiring nowadays for many people; an evolution which makes me very sad. Nobody is really able to communicate anymore. Of course it's not only about watching TV, also using smartphones or tablets all the time, while being together with the family.
Although I am still very young, looking into the future scares me. I'm kind of traditional and like the feeling of everybody sitting together and enjoying the time we can spend, without TV/smartphone.
Luckly I have been able to change the situation in my Japanese family a little bit and my parents in law turn always turn off the TV when I'm around. The influence of my not feeling well with always having the noisy TV at my back made them change the situation. It's just a small step, but I already can feel how we all talk and pay attention to each other more.
On the other hand, when my husband and I are alone at home, we rarely watch TV. Even when my husband likes to watch some evening shows, he soon gets tired and turns it off. Maybe it’s a generation thing, that the older generation is more addicted to the TV and the younger more to smartphones/tablets.
How about your experience? How is the situation in your home?
I´m a german girl living in the center of Tokyo. I love traveling (especially hiking), taking photos and handcraft.