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In his Jan. 11 letter, “Digital won’t make it better,” Simon Foston is correct to state that the switch to digital TV won’t improve Japanese TV standards. It’s not meant to; it is merely a new higher-quality means to transmit the same old garbage.

Although I agree with him that the quality of Japanese TV leaves a lot to be desired, one thing that can be said in defense of many of the programs is that they are not supposed to be watched with a great degree of concentration. The “wide-shows,” with their hours of bad gags, trips to ramen shops and grating cries of “oishii” and “kawaii,” are usually half-watched by families going about their business at home. In essence these shows are background noise, wallpaper music.

I am sure if the Japanese sat down to watch a wide-show for three hours from start to finish without a break, they would think that Japanese TV is as bad as we do and call on programmers to do something about it.

laura holland

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