City skyscape photo that I took from Odaiba

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Super Tuesday in Tokyo

News about the U.S. presidential primaries has been featured semi-prominently here. Back during the week before the New Hampshire primary, I saw Hillary "cry" three times on TV. As they were covering the Super Tuesday contest tonight (which is Tuesday daytime back in the U.S.), I was struck by a cartoon of the Clintons and Obama sprinting for the "goal." I started taping it so people could see what some of the coverage here has included. Generally speaking, the news does cover both the Republican and the Democrat race, but the two faces I've seen on the news by far the most have been Clinton and Obama.

Clintons vs. Obama race

Here's another video -- this one is about the Hispanic vote. At the end, they go back to the newsroom in Tokyo and then transition to their correspondent in New York.

What I find most interesting about the coverage on TV here is how detailed it is. I have been keeping up on the news of the presidential elections (using the Internet) on a daily basis for at least the past month. Japanese viewers watching the first video could see how small things like Hillary's tearing up or Bill Clinton's negative attacks on Obama have impacted who leads in the polls. In the second video, people can see: 1. how the support of Senator Edward Kennedy and comparisons to President John F. Kennedy are impacting Obama's popularity, and 2: how ethnic voting demographics are an important part of U.S. elections. Also visible in the news: color-coded maps of the U.S.; graphs; clips from other rallies, debates, venues, and conferences; brief footage of candidates and their key surrogates speaking; explanations and graphics about the U.S. political process; etc. All this adds up to several Japanese people at work (both coworkers and students) being able to make small talk about the U.S. election. And perhaps even more interestingly, multiple people have told me they know more about what's going on in U.S. politics right now than they do in Japanese politics. The reason: eh, they don't care about Japanese politics.

P.S. If anyone knows how to record video on TV using a digital camera without getting those dark waves, please let me know...


AAinttown said...

Thanks for the report. It is always interesting to see how other conties report on our crazy politics

Rose said...

I heard an interesting perspective on NPR today. A reporter said a friend who's an independent commented that perhaps one of the reasons older folks aren't as enamored with Obama as the younger crowd was because they don't understand what he means by *change.* It could also be that we become more resistant to change as we age. But this person's advice was for Obama to clarify more concretely what he means when referring to change we can believe in.