Well, July 31, 2011 has finally arrived. The scrolling text at the bottom of my analog TV will disappear and tomorrow, if you haven’t made the switch to digital, you will be TV-less. So here’s some tips for those JETs (like me) who waited until the last minute to make the change.
Talk to your Contracting Organization before buying a new TV.
Before you junk your analog TV, you need to talk to your CO as they may be the one who actually owns your TV. If your CO does own your TV, you can’t throw it away without their permission. If your TV is in fact owned by your school or board of education, they may be obligated to buy you a new one, or a digital tuner so you can watch your current TV. If they promise to buy you a new one, keep politely reminding them of that fact until they do.
My TV is owned by my CO, but they won’t buy me a new one.
It doesn’t surprise me that in a time of economic stress in Japan, some COs will simply say “I’m sorry, but we can’t buy you a new TV right now.” It sucks, but it can’t be helped. If that’s the case, you can either purchase your own tuner or buy a new digital TV. However, you cannot throw away or sell a TV that is owned by your board of education, without permission. If you have to purchase a new TV, return your old TV to your contracting organization and have them dispose of it, or get the OK from your supervisor (in writing so you have proof) to throw it away.
My TV isn’t owned by my Contracting Organization.
Fantastic! Do whatever you want. I hear Second Street has great deals on TVs and Yamada Denki has some digital tuners available.
Where can I buy a digital tuner?
Any major electronics store will sell digital tuners. They cost about ¥10,000.
Where can I throw away my old TV?
As TVs are electronics, you can’t just put them out in the trash when you feel like, you’ll have to wait for a certain day for them to be collected and, depending on your town, will have to pay for it to be picked up. If you’re unsure, ask your supervisor or a neighbor for help figuring out your area’s next electronics pick-up day.
Free garbage collections (無料回収, muryou kaishuu) are also fairly common. If you see a vacant lot with the 無料回収 sign, you can throw your TV away there at no charge. If you have one near you, don’t wait to throw your TV away because they only stay at certain areas for a short amount of time. These garbage collections also collect other hard-to-throw-away items including other electronics, large furniture and tires. If your predecessor left you a lot of garbage, these collections are the cheapest way to get rid of everything.
Melanie is a 3rd-year ALT who is still waiting for that new TV her BOE promised her 2 months ago.