Posts tagged ‘iphone’

iPhone: Don’t Believe the Hype?

My brother was one of the thousands to get an iPhone when it came out on July 11. He lives in the sticks of southern Kyushu so all he did was glide into the store and lay down the cash. It was a breeze compared to Tokyo. When it comes to cell phones, Japan is a bountiful candy store. Even so, he and every other tech geek was itching to get this new American idol. It’s sleek, comes with a multi-touch display, and if Americans were lining up for it then, goddamnit, so should they.

Soon after bringing home his new toy he realized things were amiss. For one, both phone and 3G Wi-Fi signal were spotty. Granted, rice fields outnumber cell phone towers in the area, but then again he’s never had problems with previous phone carriers.

And when he finally started texting friends, it never went through. iPhone carrier Softbank (no, not a bank) created exclusive email addresses for their customers (@i.softbank.jp). But they’re so exclusive that other cellphones are unable to recognize it, so they’re filtered out. My brother fell completely out of the loop with friends. Like many young people today, he prefers to text than call. Must’ve been like being the only kid benched on the playground.

There’s other drawbacks with this new phone: not being able to use cute emoticons integral for playful conversation; having to use both hands to operate the thing; and not having a loophole built in for charms. These all might seem trivial to most Americans. But believe me, for Japanese school girls it’s like removing oxygen from the atmosphere. I nearly died after coming back to the U.S. and realizing I couldn’t string in my Hello Kitty plushie to my clunky Nokia.

So obviously the brains behind the 3G iPhone were drinking on the job when they decided to approve the phone for the Japanese market. But the question remains: Why would thousands of people line up for hours, or in some cases days, to purchase an obviously flawed product? My guess is that they were simply attracted to iPhone’s unique touch screen. That’s something completely new to them. But $200 for something you can press your greasy fingers against? Silly, if you ask me. Then again, this is a country that eats bread topped with corn and mayonnaise. Silly is the norm.

Himawari

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Thinking of doing business in Japan? We can make it easy for you!
JPBizDirect, a Los Angeles based company, provides practical solutions for U.S. ? Japan business projects. Our experienced Japanese staff will support all phases of your business project to seize business opportunities and turn your vision into a reality. >> Learn more
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August 5, 2008 at 10:04 am

Tricks Aren’t Just for Kids

emember that thumb-separating trick you did when you were a kid? If you tried it today, your friends would probably kick you in the crotch (Am I the only one with violent friends?). But do it in Japan and you might actually get people OOH-ing and AHH-ing in amazement.

Quick, visual gags go a long way in Japan. And now they’ve gone high-tech. Imagine yourself coaxed into going to the beer garden with the boss after work. You’re a 21-year-old new recruit and he’s a grumbling 65-year-old with whom you have nothing in common. You have no idea what to talk to him about. So what do you do? Take out your iPhone and entertain him this:

It’s called iBeer and it’s one of many silly applications created for Apple’s iPod/iPhone line. When my brother in Japan told me how happy he was to finally get his iTouch last October (iPhone is set for release on July 11), I knew it was the start of a new trend. He quickly downloaded iBeer and started showing his friends how many he could chug without getting drunk. And then came others: iBug (a potato beetle runs around your screen), iWash (a bikini girl squeegees your screen), iWater (you get the idea), iPopcorn, iX-ray…

Then recently a Japanese guy created iPong:

I’m assuming it’s not just a visual trick and that it’s using the Touch’s built-in Wi-Fi to bounce around all three screens. The application’s creator, Kondo-san, only programmed for one ball to be used, but in the future he’ll offer more balls to create havoc on the screen. It looks like fun and opens the mind to other possibilities with this kind of technology.

Americans might underestimate the demand for utterly inane forms of entertainment like this in Japan. But believe me, whether you’re out with coworkers or new friends, mindless distractions are a necessary form of social lubrication. Very seldom are Japanese (that I know at least) keen on getting into impassioned talks about personal views. Unless you really know the person you keep the conversation light. Very light. So after exhausting all discussion points on today’s weather, what do you do? Take out your iPod of course, and have a beer! (^_^)/

Himawari

—————————————————————————
Thinking of doing business in Japan? We can make it easy for you!
JPBizDirect, a Los Angeles based company, provides practical solutions for U.S. ? Japan business projects. Our experienced Japanese staff will support all phases of your business project to seize business opportunities and turn your vision into a reality. >> Learn more
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June 24, 2008 at 10:50 am


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