Yesterday I went to the computer palace and picked out a computer. I thought for a long time about whether I want a Mac or a PC (I’m usually a PC person [writing this on my Toshiba right now], even though I was raised primarily on Macs). Although I haven’t been through many computers yet, so far I find PCs easier to use for the basics [CTRL + click will kill me on a Mac] plus when I was buying my laptop I already had Word for PC, and Mac + Mac Word = blowing my budget way out of humane proportions! Yiah.
But when I get a new computer, I want a Mac because for one I prefer the way they look (totally biased toward the whole sleek white finish), and just generally they have a nice performance. And at the time of being able to purchase the one I want, Word will hardly be an issue. I want the 24″ screen.
By the way, I also want an iPhone. Even though I think it’s stupid that everyone has one…when I was in Japan everyone had these excellent aerodynamic, sleek, beautiful Cellphones with a place to hang eight billion straps and anti-brain-cancer charms. They can do almost everything on their cellphones. Texting is basically Mesopotamian it’s so outdated in Japan. They use email instead, and in anime they will often say “meiru wo okutta!” (I sent [him] an email) and it’s translated as “I sent him a text message”. They also have cameras as a pre-req, and they really do take pictures of just about everything. At first I felt kind of embarrassed to want my picture taken with everything, but I always found that whenever I asked a cute group of girls to take my photo, they would usually ask for me to take theirs in return.
Magazines, coupon dispensers, bus-schedules, and just about everything else in Japan also has these little barcodes printed on them. People take pictures of the barcodes with their phones (not exactly sure how it works) and the phone downloads the information (coupons, websites, bus-schedules, etc.) In most magazines they will list the website URL, and beside it have one of these nifty barcodes so you can go there directly from your phone.
NTT Docomo's waterproof delight
Then I came back to the US and all the cellphones are fat and clunky and prehistoric in their capabilities. Internet is elite, email is very different from the Japanese phones’ version, and texting is still barely ‘in’ (yeah, I have actually met people under 25 who still don’t have texting). And the worst part of all….my phone doesn’t have a place for straps. You end up collecting tons of straps while shopping in Japan (sometimes they will give them to you as gifts if you spend a lot of money in stores, or they’re prizes from vending machines, etc.) I bought a few for souveneirs, but unfortunately couldn’t collect any for myself. :-( I ended up attaching them to my keychains because my phone would rather I got brain-cancer.
[ Image: NTT Docomo, a leading phone brand in Japan, released a delightful ultra-thin, bubble-gum pink (I’m sure there are different colors) waterproof superultraomega TRAAAAANSSSSFOOOOORMER…..phone. Even though the phones are typically longer than most American phones, they’re super thin and sleek, and altogether excellent to behold. I think they’re designed basically to look good with the typical Japanese manicure :-}]
These hands...that phone :-)
So anyway, the reason that I want an iPhone is that it has all kinds of cool capabilities…and that’s what I want. Although honestly, after I watched Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, I’ve seriously prefered a phone with a lid…
There’s actually a rumor running around that AC was just one big cell-phone advertisement…which it was. Being a rampant fan of the FF franchise and an ardent defender of Advent Children at large, I just find this enormously amusing. It’s like the most demented incarnation of materialistic Japanese fan-service…Didn’t everyone want to see Cloud Strife on a cellphone? I know I did! Between Cloud (who uses his phone about the same way I do– as a one-way answering machine), Tifa on her landline, the bishi brothers, and the scene where Vincent shows up to buy a phone in Midgar pre-ultimatum, the characters of AC actually spend more time on the phone than doing anything else. Cloud’s character arcs (although that sentence is generally accepted as an oxymoron) are expressed mainly through what he does to his phone. I guess it’s an interesting depiction of Japan’s materialistic reliance on their cellphones.
Panasonic Japan even ran a campaign using Cloud Strife as the poster-boy, selling the same model he uses in AC. I wonder if the makers of AC got funding from them…? People scoff, but it’s actually really common for this kind of product advertising to appear in anime and manga. After all, manga and anime actually started out as nothing more than creative advertising, and the basis lives on today.
I wonder what kind of phone Sephiroth has? An iPhone?
Actually, on that note, although the iPhone has WOOED and WOWED most of the world, it hasn’t done that well in Japan and IT IS NOW BEING OFFERED FOR FREE. Yup, for FREE. The tech company and sole-carrier of the iPhone in Japan, Softbank, started a campaign called “iPhone for Everybody” where they give away the 8GB model iPhone for free if customers sign the 2-year contract. There are also issues in Japan concerning the company Softbank. Apparently Softbank is hard-pressed to meet the much-loved NTT DoCoMo company. Maybe Apple will expand its distribution possibilities to help sales? Some people think Softbank was an odd choice for Apple. :-/
The Japanese consider their cellphones as much a fashion-accessory as a technical device, and on average buy a new phone every 1.5 to 2 years. The real tech freaks may change every six months, so they always have the newest model. We go from fashion to fashion with each season, and the Japanese do the same– but incorporate their cellphones as part of the equation. However, like in the US, people were getting the phones “for free” (paying for it over a period of time as part of the contract price), and didn’t necessarily realize how much the actual phones cost. The average cellphone in Japan costs around or over 30,000 Yen (just a little over $300.00).
Although there has been a lot of press on Japan’s national hatred of the iPhone, according to AppleInsider.com, this has been inflated in the particular sensationalist attitude of the contemporary news. It was attacked on the basis of several projected-sales figures that had apparently not actually been expressed by either Apple or Softbank. The fundamental issues don’t seem to lie in the product itself, but rather the economy, the price, and possibly cultural needs not being met. A Japanese journalist, Hayashi, who did several interviews and made extensive comments concerning the iPhone said he’s the “proud owner of one”, but he also carries “other phones which he can use to pay for subway fares, taxis, and food.”
The people riding the hate-train however, claimed that what the Japanese hated about the iPhone was “Almost everything: the high monthly data plans that go with it, its paucity of features, the low-quality camera, the unfashionable design and the fact that it’s not Japanese.” And while other sources state that this is inflated information based on a minority opinion, I personally think that it’s a combination of things. I agree with the statements made on the more economic reasons why the iPhone has not done as well in Japan as in other countries, but I also can’t say it’s not entirely true about the Japanese and their attitude toward foreign electronics. I really have to say that until I hear it from non-business, non-journalist Japanese….I’ll fall somewhere in between.
Hehe, on a slightly funnier note, I have a Japanese friend who got an iPhone. He loved it, but also expressed a few limitations of use (maybe the taxis and food?), and mentioned that the Japanese didn’t like the iPhone because texting required two hands. I can understand why this would be a serious concern for the Japanese, being absolute freaks at cellphone text creation. He also mentioned that he was going to starve in order to pay for it.
"Ichi plus ichi equals..." NIIIIIII
,  Sited from the sensationalist article on Wired.com
…which is attacked by… ,  AppleInsider, on the iPhone in the Japanese market. Original article.