Monday, August 16, 2010

Cell phones in Japan, Part 2

This is Part 2, the continuation of Japanese cell phone discussion/monologue from earlier. Also keep in mind that I posted a blog earlier today, as well, about the end of the Obon celebrations.

I have a cell phone! Yay! Now I can text people and make emergency phone calls!

Okay, so, after a whole lot of thinking; more thinking than I really wanted to do with cell phones, I decided to get an iPhone. Yeah, yeah, I know, I know, "jumping on the bandwagon." Whatever. But actually, no, I'm not quite jumping on the bandwagon. My opinion of Apple is still the same: I don't approve of some of their business practices, and Apple as a whole I don't really like. But just because I don't like the company doesn't mean that I automatically have to hate all of their products; no, that's just cynicism. And that's also unfair. That said, I think Apple's hardware is fantastic; and their software works very well for their hardware. But once you start throwing Apple software on Windows PCs or non-Apple software on Apple hardware, the results are often less than desirable. Oh yeah, and iTunes sucks. :-P

But anyway, back to the iPhone. I actually was highly considering going with the HTC Desire, also offered by SoftBank. Unfortunately, the wait is super long, and I also don't get the sweet discount on the Packet Plan. The phone itself is also a lot more expensive than the iPhone (either 16GB or 32GB). So, given that the SoftBank store I went to just got an order of 32GB phones, I chose this one because I'll be able to get it sooner! It's only about $5 more a month than the 16GB, so it sounds like a good deal to me. And I can unlock the phone and use it in the US, too (Bwa ha ha! Screw you AT&T!).

Because I won't get my iPhone for another few weeks, I decided to get a Pre-Paid plan and cheapee phone from SoftBank, as well. The phone was normally about 7000 yen, but I got it discounted to just 2000-something yen. Nice! The Pre-Paid plan is actually really good for those planning on being in Japan but only needing to text people and not make phone calls. Basically, the way the plan works is that you can buy a 3000 yen or 5000 yen card, which is about $34 and $57, respectively. With this card, you can make phone calls at the super expensive rate of 9 yen/6 seconds. That's a dollar a minute! It's a terrible price, but you just need to save it for emergencies. For only 300 yen, you can also buy unlimited texting for 30 days (called e-mail in Japan) to any provider: SoftBank, AU, Docomo, even to PC e-mail! Pretty sweet. And really super inexpensive. Apparently, if you also have more money on your card by the end of 30 days, it automatically renews. I'm not sure if it continually renews every month, though. So if you're interested in a full year's worth of Pre-Paid, you'd have to ask the store directly. More info here:

So why an iPhone? The screen is gorgeous. The pixel resolution is 326 ppi (pixels per inch). What does this mean? The pixel resolution is SHARPER THAN A MAGAZINE (300 dpi). Apple advertised that the resolution is so good that the human eye can't distinguish individual pixels, hence the naming of the display to "Retina display." Of course this is just the usual PRing that any company would do, but that doesn't change the fact that this is an amazing piece of hardware. The 640 x 960 resolution is like having two standard definition televisions (like the one in my apartment) stacked on top of one another! This phone has twice the resolution of my TV!

Also, the apps are amazing as well; nearly anything I would need an app for is available. And that's the kicker. I need to get some sort of electronic kanji dictionary. I will buy a real denshi jisho at some point, and I will also buy the Nintendo DS version (Kanji sono mama). But I won't always be carrying around a denshi jisho or a DS. So it would be extremely convenient to have it on my phone, because I would always be walking around with it. So the iPhone 4 kind of solves that problem as well. Additionally, because it's so easy to jailbreak and unlock the phone now, I can easily take it to the States!

Now, I really don't like iTunes. And I never liked QuickTime. Which is why I use QuickTime Alternative or QuickTime Lite anytime I need to play .mov files. And luckily, I've been using Winamp for over a decade now, and it has support for iPod/iPhone management! But there are also other iTunes alternatives. I will probably still need iTunes to download updates to my phone though. :-/ There are apparently ways to update the phone without it, but I haven't had enough time or experience with iPods/iPhones to have enough confidence to really mess with a device that I just bought.

If there are any questions that anyone has, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll try to address it in my own comment or in a later post! You can also e-mail it to me if you don't want it published/publicized.

Second word of the day: アプリケーション "apurikeeshon", or "application." You know, like for phones. :-P

1 comment:

  1. hmm you can transfer it back to the US? That makes this option very appealing.. lol. So how much are you paying total per month?

    Also, you said something about having 3 registered numbers that you could call all the time, was that with this plan or was that with another company?