Let me tell you of the days of high adventure!

When I was a young serviceman living in Japan a long time ago (the early 90s), watching televsion was a pretty interesting experience. The base itself only had one channel, AFRTS (Armed Forces Radio and Television Service, affectionately known as “A FARTS”), which was provided to service folks living abroad anywhere and usually consisted of 1-2 year old American shows interspersed with horrible movies and even worse commercials produced by the military on such topics as “Don’t spend all your money on dumb shit, GI!” or “Dude, you can’t go out in a foreign country wearing THAT shirt!”. I’m really not exaggerating.

In addition to AFARTS, we also got a handful of Japanese channels which could either be awesome (gameshows) or frustrating (soap operas).

We didn’t have MTV Asia. Instead we had Channel V. This was sort of cool, because the hosts would speak both English and another language (usually Chinese) and you’d see videos from a wide variety of different countries. Some were great, most were horrible, a few scarred you for life.

Finally, we would get some bleed over networks that catered to more of the english speakers in Asia and the subcontinent. The big one was Star TV, who also owned the above Channel V. This channel would pipe in programming from the UK or Australia, so I remember watching “Neighbors“, a popular Australian drama and “The Crystal Maze“, this awesomely British gameshow with Richard O’Brien (Riff-Raff from Rocky Horror).

This was also the channel that would show cricket matches. Frequently you would see advertisements for “The Ashes” (a big cricket tournament) or other big cricket events. Desperate to watch anything, we’d all gather in the common room and try our best to understand what we were looking at. Remember, this was the dawn of the internet, so we didn’t have that as a resource. Sure, we could have gone to the library, but it was in the opposite direction of the Class 6 store (the place where booze sleeps at night), so that was out.

Only now, thanks to this article, do I have a better than tenuous grasp of the rules of cricket. I like the internet…

After a while, we would give up and get back to drinking in earnest without the distraction of weird sports.

While the programming over there took some getting used to, I do miss watching (and betting on) the sumo matches down at the local expat pub.

Good times…


~ by willtuck on August 4, 2006.

One Response to “Let me tell you of the days of high adventure!”

  1. I love you Will and yer engaging yarns

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