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LIFE IN JAPAN
Juliet Hindell

Juliet HindellOccupation:
BBC' Tokyo Correspondent

Time in Japan:
Six years



Where are you from?

Britain.

What brought you to Japan?
I first came to Japan in 1987, working as a JET in Tatebayashi, Gunma and had two great years there, although I fear I learned more Japanese than my students learned English. Then I went back to Britain working for TV Tokyo in their London office, and eventually that led to work at the BBC, which I joined in 1992, and came back to Japan as a correspondent in 1996.

What do you do?
We cover the news in Japan for BBC television and radio. The joy of being a correspondent is that every day is different, and you never know what's going to happen when you get to the office in the morning. Of course it can also be a frustration. In the last few weeks we've been extremely busy, with the volcano in Hokkaido, Mr Obuchi's demise and Mr Mori's rise, and we also had a British Government Minister here, so it's been hectic.

Is Tokyo an easy posting?
No, and there are several reasons why. The first is getting access to people as foreign media. Sometimes it's to your advantage because some people would rather talk to the foreign media than to the Japanese media, but as far as official news is concerned, it's really hard to persuade people to comment. The other challenge is getting news about Japan onto the news agenda. It hasn't been a challenge the past few weeks, but often it's quite hard. A lot of people think, "Japan. Economy's not great. We don't care." We have to balance the serious news with what we call "Wacky Japan News." I think it's unfair to portray Japan as completely wacky but there are some unusual things that happen here.

For example?
Well, one of the reports that got a huge response was the report about Nasubi, who was on NTV's Denpa Shonen and had to spend almost a year alone in a room naked, and win one million yen worth of prizes to get out. That was really wacky. My rule of thumb is if Japanese people here think something is wacky, then it's okay to report on it.

What's the weirdest story you've ever done?
The underwater ballet at Yomiuri Land. It was extraordinary. These women, dressed up in full costume and waterproof makeup, ballet danced underwater, and mouthed the words to the songs underwater. I never really recovered from seeing that. It was a great attraction, but they had to close the show in 1996. It took place in a huge tank with a glass side, which they were afraid wouldn't withstand a big earthquake.

What's your personal weirdest experience here?
I was asked if I was a man or a woman on Sado Island. This old lady came up and asked, "Are you a man or a woman?" I told her I was a woman and she said, "Oh yes, I can see your breasts." She didn't really mean anything bad, but it was a bit of a shock.

What's it like being pregnant in Japan?
Wonderful. I think it's a privilege to be pregnant in Japan, partly due to the falling birthrate. Everyone is very, very nice to you-except on the train where they ignore you. The medical services are, in my experience, fantastic. It's opened up conversations with people which I would never have otherwise had. One of the very strange things which now I've got used to is that people just come over and touch my stomach, uninvited. It's like a magnet. At first, I was really surprised but I've sort of got used to it now. My only experience of being pregnant is in Japan, and so far it's been great. Whether it's going to be a good place to have a baby or not remains to be answered.

What's your recipe for a happy and successful life in Japan?
Have an open mind, a sense of humor and don't get a chip on your shoulder about being a gaijin.


Juliet Hindell spoke to Maki Nibayashi.


Do you know an interesting person in Tokyo? If so, email us at maki@tokyoclassified.com

LIFE IN JAPAN:
360: Gustavo Marchesi
Professional tango dancer
355: Alec McAulay
Filmmaker
352/3: Mary Frenzel
Professional singer / songwriter, bandleader & voice instructor
350: Kate Smurthwaite
Bond analyst and aspiring novelist
349: Tim Spangler
Recreational Equipment, Inc.
348: Robin Rozzell
Tribal Nation Security
347: Marco Invernizzi
Bonsai artist
346: Charles E McJilton
Advocate
345: Chris Chavez
Dancer/Singer
344: Donna Burke
Singer and narrator
343: Dennis Sun
Artist, freelance graphic design and illustrator
342: Martin Hope Berry
Natural food shop owner
341: Donald James Berry
Technical Adviser
340: Amy Jorrisch
Tokyo International Players
339: Anthony Al-Jamie Ph.D.
Education consultant and journalist
338: Joel Silverstein
President of Outback Steakhouse Japan
337: Neal Dauber
Termite and Pest Control Operator
336: Marcus Spurrell
CEO of No Mass Media, Internet Co.
335: Stefan Fanselow
Flight Instructor
334: Colleen Lanki
Theater Artist
333: Ben Leibson
Scuba Diver
332: Bernard Yu
Executive Director of TELL
331: Hayden "Hay-chan" Majajas
Informations Systems Manager
330: Alistair McLachlan
BootsMC Finance manager
329: Ronald Lee Davis
Missionary / Teacher
328: Ed Durbrow
Musician
327: Isabelle Maranda
Marketing Coordinator
326: Brian Marcus
Food & Beverage Director at Tokyo American Club
325: David Baran
Managing Partner, Compass Partners
324: Murali Kupusami
Furla Tea & Coffee Owner/Model
323: Angela Jones
Fire Dancer
322: Tim Tsang
Coordinator for International Relations (CIR)
321: Chris Monnier
Drummer
320: David Snyder
President of Rising Crane Sports Consultants, Inc.
319: Juliet Hindell
BBC's Tokyo Correspondent
318: Sid Lloyd
Football team captain
317: Niels Frederik Walther
Chef for the Danish Ambassador
316: Jonathan Katz
Jazz musician and composer
315: Yoichi Hayase
President, True Travel, K.K.
314: Ira Bolden
Program Manager
313: Benjamin Gurnsey
Corporate Communications at Sony Computer
312: Dr Jonna D. Douglass, PhD
Clinical Psychologist and Family Therapist
311: Roy Kilner
Izakaya Manager
310: Neil Day
Senior Software Research Engineer
309: Stuart Ablett
Sakaya Operator
308: Maggie Tai Tucker
Animal Trainer
307: Carmine Cozzoline
Restaurant Owner/Chef
306: Alison Noonan
Cellist
305: Kevin Meyerson
Rainbow Japan Inc. President
304: Randy McGraw
DirecTV Marketing Manager
303: Roy Ron
Researcher
302: Antonio Plozay-Liberatore
Economist/TV Talent
300: Miguel Angel
Bartender

Issues 250-299

Issues 150-199