Press holidays

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Press holidays in Tokyo mean no newspapers.

I begrudgingly admire the Japanese newspaper union. They negotiated an interesting contract. On the second Sunday of every other month, everyone in the newspaper industry takes a holiday. That means there are no newspapers whatsoever on the second Monday of every other month.

For me, it simply means that I read something else at lunchtime and that I get my news online. But what about the thousands of newspaper vendors who hawk papers and snacks at train stations? I hope they do a brisk business in gum and breath mints today.

Another population that feels a serious impact from the lack of newspapers is the TV show hosts. Most mornings they spend hours dissecting the headlines. They even clip articles and tape them to posterboard, highlighting key passages. The cameramen gleefully zoom in to extreme close-ups to let the audience read along as the host talks and the (invariably) young, beautiful, female assistant chimes in with "So desu ne..." for effect.

It's a shame the TV-hosts-and mint-seller's union hasn't negotiated as well as the newspaper union. The second Monday of every other month should be a holiday for them.

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