|My cell phone and Lucky Charm.|
|Inside of the phone.|
There are 3 major phone companies in Japan that monopolize the cell phone market. We weren't sure who to go with: Docomo, Soft Bank or AU.....but ended up choosing AU. Justin's work cell phone was AU, so that's one of the biggest reasons we chose the plan we did plus the lady who helped us spoke very good English. We found the rates to be cheaper than our plan back in the U.S., but are locked into a similar 2 year contract.
Just like back in the states, there are a number of phones to choose from. We ended up settling on the "free" Japanese phones even though one of the boys had his hopes of getting an I-Phone. The one prerequisite I had for my own phone was to get one with a texting keyboard. Can you believe they are not easy to come by here? Everyone has flip phones! I've read a variety of reasons why flip phones are popular such as: you use one hand when texting which is easier to do on a crowded train or bus, they are compact/sleek looking, they have many emoticons that are popular here when texting, and most of all they have a place on the top of the phone to hang a lucky charm....which is a huge social practice here in Japan.
Its been very interesting having a foreign phone in Japan. Here are a some differences I've noticed:
1) Every phone in Japan has an email attached to the phone number.
2) The numbers are the same, but we also have Japanese writing on the buttons. I'm never quite sure what I'm pressing, or supposed to press.
3) We get email spam or advertisements in Japanese.
4) The cameras on the phones have high mega pixels.
5) It is considered very rude to speak on cell phones on the train. People put their phones on silent (or manner mode) so that they can still send/receive texts or play games while commuting.