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Moshi Moshi!

Today I did lessons 48 and 49 from JapanesePod101.com’s survival phrases and lessons 31 and 32 from SurvivalPhrases.com Japanese. The focus was all about cell phones.

Closed Cell Phone

Open Cell Phone

TV Cell Phone

These photos are of a typical cell phone here in Japan. Notice this one’s screen turns horizontally for the owner to watch TV. The little charms hanging on the side are very popular for both men and women. [Photos by Emily Carsch]

I have a cell phone here in Tokyo. It is a puripeido keitai denwa, or prepaid cell phone, from Soft Bank, one of the cell phone carriers here in Japan. It is a standard flip phone that has photo and video capabilities. For a prepaid phone, it’s actually pretty neat.

On my first day here, I went to Soft Bank to get it and they charged me for the phone and my first terehon kado, or prepaid telephone card, that was a gosen en kado, 5,000 yen card. 300 of those 5,000 yen were spent on unlimited text messaging service to last the entire month. Three US dollars for unlimited text messaging?! It was a steal!

I believe that of the remaining 4,700 yen, making calls costs 90 yen a minute; incoming calls are free. I paid a total of $110 USD for the keitai denwa and terehon kado. The phone comes with a charger, headphone/speaker, computer connection cable, manual, and screen cleaning charm. It was a bargain! I’m sure other companies also have deals like this, but if you don’t want to search them, this option is a good one.

One of the nice things about the phone is that when your minutes are low, you get a text message warning and can go to any convenience store and pick up a new phone card (no need to go to Soft Bank!). All you do is take a number off the back of the card and input it into an operating system from the phone. It’s really easy.

Getting the phone was pretty easy as well. Most everyone was able to communicate in English just enough that you were able to accomplish what you needed. A passport, address, and telephone number are needed however. Be sure to bring those along. The address and phone number can be that of your hotel. If you need your phone setting to be in English, they will happily do that for you. Remind them to change the operator language to English as well!

Do not plan on bringing your own phone, at least from the United States. It will not work! I don’t understand the technological specifics of why, but the phones here have different capabilities than in the US. For example, did you know that your cell phone can act as your credit card in most places?

Here in Japan, cell phones can be linked to your credit card account. All you have to do is hold it over a special pad and it can pay for anything, anywhere. No need to bring your wallet places. Unfortunately, this nifty extra isn’t available with my phone, since I don’t have an account (just pay-as-you-go), but if you’re coming here for a fair amount of time, it might be worth getting!

If you’re going to be in Japan for a shorter amount of time, some phones are available for kariru, or rent, in which you have them for a certain period of time and then give them back at the end of your stay. I’m sure this option is just as good as mine and are available through several different websites. One I have heard about is GoMobile.co.jp.

That should be it for today. Any other questions? Let me know!