Saturday, March 03, 2007

Japanese cell phones are the devil

March on, oh mighty "thumb tribe"!!

Ok, I'll be the first to say that Japanese cell phones rock - although their American counterparts are catching up, they are still hands down better with their many features and niceties. You've been able to watch tv/videos and take pictures/videos (mine's 3 megapixels) on cell phones in Japan for years now, and I've seen other features on phones such as IR ports, debit card capability, dictionaries, and on in addition to the standard texting/internet/phone functions we've all grown to learn and love. They use them to check everything from train schedules to email to movie and restaurant reviews in daily life. Also, a very high percentage of the population carries them everywhere, including grade schoolers and geriatrics, so people are even more dependent on them than in the US as well.

And you see, this is apparently where the problem lies - they're too damn good. Now what you may think is that Japan has all these great toys and gadgets, which means that the average Japanese person should be fairly technically versed and computer savvy, but that couldn't be further from the truth! This study shows proof that high cell phone usage by 20-somethings in Japan is actually keeping them from using computers for internet access - they only use PCs about as much as those in their 50's! And going around, you'd be surprised at how many Japanese have utterly no clue about how many a technological wonder that gets pumped out of their factories every day really functions. It really is true that while Japan itself is rather technologically advanced, Japanese are not necessarily so.

Take my office for instance - all the people in my office have laptops, but I'd estimate that they're all about 5 or so years old, and mine is the only in the office hooked up to the internet besides the one system in the back that everyone uses collectively. My closest friend out here, who's the same age as me, just now bought a computer at 27 - up until now, just the cell phone for him. So what about email, blogs, ebay, google, youtube, wiki, flickr, bittorrent, etc that we've all come to know and love - don't they exist in Japan? Well yeah, they do. Everything's out there, it's just that most people don't really make use of it for the most part. And the ones that do get used get a lot more hits from teens than 20-somethings apparently, which to me is weird.

Oh, and if you're thinking "that's good - less internet time means they're out being productive!!" think again as they just have even more of a passive tv culture than the US does - the randomness of Japanese tv is just about constantly on in the background if they're home. So yeah, Japanese cells are the devil - they make the internet suck.

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