Congratulations, Kanda! Kanda’s first assignment will be at …… Fukuoka Broadcasting Station. I love Fukuoka, it’s so much fun. There are a lot of delicious foods. You may not have any connection to this place, but you will understand once you get there. There are always people waiting for you and people who need you. Believe in that and do your best!
These were the words of the teachers who trained me when I was told of my first assignment as an NHK announcer.
The people who are waiting for me, the people who need me. ……? I wonder what kind of people they are! I’m looking forward to it! I was thrilled and excited when I started working at NHK Fukuoka Broadcasting Station in June 2003.
All new announcers are required to be assigned to a station outside of Tokyo from June after their training.
During the training, they are asked to write down their preferred assignment location. Regardless of the rule, I wrote my first choice as Shibuya (because it was close to my parents’ house), my second choice as Yokohama (because it was my hometown), and my third choice as Sapporo (because I heard that my skin becomes smoother in cold regions), but the result was the exact opposite: Fukuoka.
I had been living at home all my life until then, and this was my first time living alone in Fukuoka. I had to decide on a room in a day, but I had zero familiarity with the area, so I decided on an apartment a seven-minute walk from the bureau, based on the advice of a senior colleague who said, “In case of emergency, it is better to be in a place where you can come out to the bureau immediately. The building is young and has a luxurious interior. Moreover, it was on the 8th floor, with a view of a park from the window, and it was 45 square meters. I thought the rent would be 150,000 yen in Tokyo. I thought it would be 150,000 yen in Tokyo, but it was only 70,000 yen! I’m sure my boss will praise me for finding such a cheap apartment! But when I talked to him after signing the contract, he told me that my rent was the highest among the 15 announcers (in their 20s to 50s) at the Fukuoka bureau, and he said it was extravagant.
Notice of rent arrears.”
Now, that’s the hard part. Every day I received at least one warning.
First of all, my nails. When I wore red nails because I admired French people’s hands, I was told, “Try reading the news about a murder with that color. It reminds me of blood. Then there were the shoes. If I wore a pair of cute Kate Spade sandals, he would say, “Can you run in those shoes in an emergency? . Next, belongings. When I went to interview the families of the hostage crisis victims, I had to do it properly, so I brought a red suitcase with a British royal brand. I was so impressed.
I was too inexperienced as a member of society, and all the warnings I received were justified. While my seniors were exhausted because of me, the most critical event occurred.
It was September, three months after I was transferred. In September, three months into my assignment, I received a notice in my mailbox saying that I was behind on my rent. Why was this? I couldn’t afford to work,” I thought to myself! I immediately went to my boss.
He said, “I’m sorry! The rent has not been paid! Why is that?
I asked in a loud, upset voice, and there was silence. Then, in a calm, low tone, his boss said in a small voice, “You,
You. You haven’t paid your rent?”
I don’t pay rent! The bureau pays the rent!
You didn’t write down your direct debit account when you signed the contract? You pay your own rent. It’s obvious. …… Why don’t you know that!
I was astonished. Rent is self-paid?
Yes, in fact, until this incident, I had always assumed that NHK would pay all the rent if I could not commute from my parents’ house. What a surprise! No wonder they didn’t praise me when I found a cheap place to live! I don’t care if I’m the one paying the rent, right? So that’s why the seniors were living in cheaper rooms! That makes sense! I came to a tremendously deep agreement.
At the same time, I realized that there was no such thing as three months’ rent left in my bank book, and I broke out in a cold sweat. I immediately moved to the hallway and called my mother in a quiet voice. I borrowed the money for a time, as a sort of promotion payment.
What do you think? This was my first year as an NHK announcer, spring through summer. It was like this, but I’m still going strong! To all you newcomers out there reading this. The world is full of pitfalls, and it’s scary! Work as hard as you can!
Born in 1980 in Kanagawa Prefecture. After graduating from Gakushuin University, Faculty of Science, Department of Mathematics, she joined NHK as an announcer in 2003, and left NHK in 2012 to become a freelance announcer. Since then, she has been active mainly in variety shows, and currently makes regular appearances as the main MC of the daytime TV program “Poka Poka” (Fuji Television Network).
From the April 21-28, 2023 issue of “FRIDAY
Text and illustrations： Aika Kanda