• • recognised this meant family support — but they seemed to treat their workers well in BrertTitithrisn. Nissan factory was first car completed at the
greeted with tinsel, fanfares and a speech from the Japanese executives. There was a mixture of hope and foreboding in this programme.
Hope for these men's futures in these times of bleak employment prospects, but a nagging fear that we might all have to succumb to the Japanese ways in order to survive.
Newcastle supermarkets were already providing the ingredients for Japanese coo
TV and RADIO
UNDERSTANDABLY there was a crop of programmes on marriage last week, together with numerous repetitions of statistics about the divorce rate or the increases in the popularity of marriage. •
BBC l and ITV chose to discuss the subject at more or less the same time on Sunday night. The ITV show was hosted by radio personality firrurny Young and included a woman sociologist and a bishop as the panel experts. The BBC series Choices presented by Rabbi Julia Neuberger captured agony aunt Irma Kurtz for their panel (by far the most sensible of all the contributors), together with feminist writer Michele Roberts, academic lawyer Peter Glazebrook and Stephen Sanders of the National Marriage Guidance Council.
Both programmes included audience participation. Jimmy Young's easy manner soon got the audience going. Instead of sitting down with the experts, he paced the set aligning himself with neither side, addressing himself to audience and bishop alike, with good humoured diffidence.
His manner and voice remained that of the radio presenter and it was difficult to get used to actually seeing him.
A young newly-married couple were part of the audience and the girl explained why she had agreed to obey her husband. They were equal partners in the marriage and it wasn't just an excuse for him to boss her about, however, she did look to him as the head of the marriage.
This brought cries of laughter and derision from some elements of the audience. But the young wife was not put off — they were Christians, she said, and as the equality brigade launched forth at her yet again she just said — this isn't a battle we're having here; a timely reminder of a need for the basis of friendship in marriage.
There was a fear that too much emphasis on romance led to disappointment and distress. A lady from the Women's Institute confirmed her belief in Christian marriage, but said it was hard work — and took damned hard work to make it work.
Back on BBCI we were being given a more formal discussion with the rabbi sitting with the panel to chair the event. As has been apparent in earlier programmes in the series, the audience and the questions covered always seem a little to predetermined.
Agony aunt for Cosmopolitan magazine, Irma Kurtz opened her remarks with the comment that the point of marriage was to find somebody you could live with, not somebody you couldn't live without.
The optimists asked us to remember the two out of three marriages which don't end in divorce — rather than the one in three which do. An Indian lady talked of her arranged marriage and said that romance and love came after, rather than before the marriage, and that one developed a special deep friendship.
In both programmes we were told that in previous centuries people didn't expect to live so long, one partner (usually the woman) died early so couples did not envisage keeping their vows for a period anything like approaching 40 years.
Both programmes covered similar topics, were presented in similar ways and had introduced the same sort of cross section of people into their audience.
Participants were given a chance to put forward differing views, and while the BBC focus may have been a little more serious, Jimmy Young had a greater response, from the audience. Both left you with the same questions unanswered, and a range of personal views to ponder on.
In the Tyne Tees programme early last week, on the arrival of Nissan in the North East, we saw an example of a very good marriage which had survived the difficulties of unemployment.
We accompanied a small group of the new Nissan workforce, on a training trip to Japan. They were to be given a three month insight into the Japanese way of making cars, and the lads who went were to come back as team leaders and pass on the message to their coworkers.
It was a moving programme. The father showed his children where he was going by using an orange to represent the globe. Despite many problems and a continuous search for work — his family had remained stable, warm and loving.
Nissan referred to itself as the Nissan family and tried to explain things to the wives and include them in what was going on. Shop floor workers and management dress alike, and hours are long and hard. Commitment has to be total.
In Japan, it was the food which proved to be one of the biggest culture shocks, although the morning exercises of tinny music, and the constant presence of management on the shop floor also took some getting used to.
So too did the Japanese method of relaxation. This involved sitting in a gaming arcade, in front of a machine which whizzed around hundreds of ball bearings. The object seemed to be to win as many as possible, the noise was phenomenal, the concentration total.
A Scotswoman married to a Japanese Nissan executive said he would work from Sam to 10pm. No, she did not feel she was a Nissan widow — that was the way Nissan worked. Nissan required total commitment and