In Japan, every owner of a television pays for television service. This makes the prices relatively cheap, but there is no free option for watching. Also, every Japanese home automatically receives the signal. This situation allows for some people to watch without paying. Japan’s answer for this is that the company, NHK, sends people door to door to look for people who own televisions without paying the fee. We, however, were oblivious to this.
The man at our door wanted us to write our bank account number on a order form. Everything was screaming “scam-artist” in our minds, so we tried to call every English speaking Japanese person we knew. Unfortunately no one was answering their phone. Meanwhile the gentleman was waiting semi-patiently in our entryway. Eventually we were able to talk with a friend who told the guy to go away and told us not to pay because it was a scam. After hanging up, the gentleman would not leave. Soon after another friend called us back, told the gentleman to leave, and said that he would call NHK and solve the issue. Finally, after a total of two hours, the gentleman said good bye. We did give him some cookies, though.
In the end we were required to trade our phone for a different one. We also never saw another NHK salesman. During the rest of our stay in Japan, we had a little note prepared in both English and Japanese that said, “We do not have a TV, so we do not need to pay NHK.” Next time, we hope our Japanese is good enough to share why Americans would be crazy enough to come to Japan and not to own a television.