Interviewed & written by Isao Tokuhashi
Mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Chan Wing Kong (Hong Kong)
A (Belated) Happy New Year 2016!
We’ve interviewed people from many different countries for 10 years since My Eyes Tokyo launched. However we have not heard stories from people from this area… Hong Kong. Let us introduce you to a really gentle Hong Konger called Chan Wing Kong, a TV producer.
We didn’t know how to read his name correctly because he told us his “Japanese” name when we met him for the first time. His Japanese name is Tsuyoshi, which derives from “剛”, part of his full name, “陳永剛” (Chan Wing Kong).
Tsuyoshi told us his experiences related to Japan in the language he’s learned for a long time.
TV producer of the world
I’m working at a TV station in Hong Kong as a producer of sports programs. I’ve covered many world-class events such as Beijing Olympics (2008), London Olympics (2012) and FIFA World Cup in Brazil (2014).
The system of sports coverage and broadcasting in Hong Kong is different from the Japanese system. During the Olympics, each station broadcasts a game in the Japanese system. In Hong Kong, only the licensed station covers and broadcasts the games so it’s really tough to cover many different kinds of games. On the other hand, it’s easy to cover the World Cups because we can focus exclusively on soccer.
I love sports very much, such as soccer and swimming. When I was a secondary school student, I dreamed about being a member of the Hong Kong Team. Also I enjoyed filming with my father’s video camera when I was a teenager and I got interested in journalism. I couldn’t be a Hong Kong Team member, but I could go to the venues of Olympic games in my career. I’m really happy with that.
Japan – a country I’ve longed for
I came here about 15 times and most of those trips were my private ones. I came to Japan on business only twice for a car racing and the Red Bull Dance Competition held in Kyushu.
I learned world history at my high school in Hong Kong and learned Japanese history, especially Edo Period, as part of the curriculum. I don’t remember whether we could learn the histories of other countries because it was a long time ago. But I enjoyed studying Japanese history because the anime called “Rurouni Kenshin : Meiji Swordsman Romantic Story” was broadcast in Hong Kong at that time.
Then, I went on my first trip to Japan in June 2001 when I was a sophomore. I joined a tour organized by a Hong Kong travel company and went to Tokyo and Osaka. I had two passports, British National (Overseas) passport and Hong Kong passport and a tourist visa must be issued in any case in order to go to Japan.
*Visas are not required for a trip to Japan now.
After that, I went to Taiwan in July 2001. I was majoring in communication at university, so I joined a one-month internship at a Taiwanese TV station as part of the curriculum. I talked to people there in Standard Chinese and some of them could also speak Japanese. They told me, “You should lean the Japanese language if you love Japanese culture”. You can enjoy Japanese movies, anime, novels earlier than the others and enjoy interacting with local people deeper – I understood what they meant because I also thought that I could have enjoyed a trip to Japan if I could speak Japanese.
So I started to study Japanese at a school after I went back home. Then my teacher gave me a Japanese nickname “Tsuyoshi”. However it took a long time to master the language because I joined a class once a week.
I joined a two-month internship at a Cantonese TV station in Toronto, Canada, in 2002. Then I entered a Hong Kong TV station in 2003 and became a producer in 2008.
It’ll be perfect if Japan has more flexibility
People work in a different way in Hong Kong and Japan. In Hong Kong, we plan a flexible schedule so that we can deal with some changes. On the other hand, Japanese people lack flexibility a little bit. I felt that when I covered a car racing held in Japan.
Nobody knows what’s happening during the sport games. Also we cover not only games but also sightseeing spots around the venues or specialties of the areas. It’s difficult to do some research there beforehand because we have a limited budget so we have to shift our schedule depending on the circumstances. Interviewees in Japan accepted our requests reluctantly.
Another thing in Japan that I suffer inconvenience from is the language. Fortunately I can speak Japanese, but other staff members must ask for help from interpreters because nobody can understand even English especially in rural areas in Japan. However, we’re losing our English skills in Hong Kong too because Hong Kong schools are focusing on their education on Standard Chinese instead of English.
Every time I come to Japan, I feel comfortable with Japanese hospitality. People in the Hong Kong hospitality industry also used to help and take care of customers well, but their services have worsened since the reversion of Hong Kong. I could even say that they’ve adapted to environmental changes…
To be honest, I prefer Hong Kong the way it used to be. I think people of my generation feel the same.
Having a drink with Tomoko Komatsuzaki, PR producer who promotes Japanese stuffs to Chinese-speaking countries.
What is Japan to you?
A place where innovation and consideration live together.
I feel Tokyo and Japan are really innovative. I’ve been attracted by new Japanese products since I was a child. They did not only create new things but also tried to integrate them in traditional ones. For example, Japanese-made Star Wars tenugui (washcloth). Also there are both old and new buildings in Japanese cities and I don’t feel weird about that.
Japanese people tend to avoid bothering others, whereas in Hong Kong, we’re becoming self-centered.
Japanese people have great sensitivity. Trash separation, full-hearted wrapping at the department stores… We also have those things, but the Japanese ones are much better.
So I feel relaxed every time I come to Japan.