...I see you snickering. Stop that this instant.
Before we move on to cell phones, however, just a quick blog update to keep everyone on the same page.
Due to my obsessive compulsive, slightly anal personality, I felt the need to ascertain just how many people were actually reading this, my new-found hobby and eater of a small yet significant portion of my free time.
So, I went and got myself a Google Analytics account.
(Does google just not supply everything these days? Those people are geniuses. No wonder they can afford to treat their employees so very nicely.)
So now I have something of a grasp on who is reading my blog.
I say something because, quite honestly, for all the information it gives me, I still don't know much of anything.
Because, you know, none of you comment.
But anyway, hola to my readers in Spain, and こんにちは to my readers in Osaka, Kyoto and Saitama (日本語で書いた方がいいかな？どうしよう、うち？教えてちょうだい.) And according again to google, "halo" should be the appropriate greeting in Malay, but as always, feel free to correct me. I admit up front that I speak not a word of Malay.
Talk about a digression.
Now, back to the topic at hand: cell phones in Japan. Ah, what a lovely ring that has to it. (Har har, "ring." I am just so clever.)
I did a little bit of research yesterday, and it appears that either AU nor Softbank has amazing coverage when it comes to the 田舎 (inaka, boonies). I don't recall, however, ever having problems with AU (even when I lived in Hakodate), and already mentioned the fact that my friend with Softbank had no problems even while cruising through the backwaters of Wakayama and Mie, so really, I wonder how accurate those service area maps are. Or, rather, I wonder how many of those "no service" white areas are actually impassable and therefore completely moot points. Japan is, after all, mostly mountain, and therefore mostly not somewhere you're going to be living.
What, you didn't know that? Oh come on now. Allow me/Wikipedia to educate you just a smidge:
About 70% to 80% of the country is forested, mountainous, and unsuitable for agricultural, industrial, or residential use. This is because of the generally steep elevations, climate and risk of landslides caused by earthquakes, soft ground and heavy rain. This has resulted in an extremely high population density in the habitable zones that are mainly located in coastal areas. Japan is one of the most densely populated countries in the world.
There, you see? So really, most of those white areas could be, as I said, absolutely moot and entirely misleading when looked at by a foreigner such as myself who is unfamiliar with the landscape.
(Just in case you'd care to prove me wrong, or offer some helpful insight, here is the map for AU, and here is the map for Softbank. Yes, unless someone gives me a very, very good reason otherwise, I've eliminated Docomo from the running, simply because (a) I have no personal experience with them at all and (b) their phones are ugly.)
At this point, unless someone in the vicinity where I wind up living tells me that one of these two plans has absolutely horrible reception in that area, I think it's going to come down to who gives me more packets (which take care of e-mails and internet usage) for less money. And yes, because I am raven-like that way... a pretty phone earns the company extra points.
The Toshiba T003 is also rather nice, but unfortunately I cannot tell whether or not the outside is hiding some sort of slick, secretive display... or whether it does not, in fact, have one. If the latter is the case, well. What good is a phone if you have to open it to see the time?
...yes, I realize how silly that sounds once I write it down, but... well, it's true.
a wide array of colors.
I really like the new Hitachi Beskey as well, but cannot find a picture to show you; you're just going to have to go to the actual AU site and see for yourself.
I would get the black one, of course; unfortunately, Google Images is not my friend today.
You know, it's funny... Softbank is supposed to be the most gaijin-friendly phone service, and yet I can't for the life of me find the spec page that tells me whether or not their phones are bilingual capable or not. Perhaps I would have better luck if I looked on their English site (which is indeed far better than either the AU or Docomo English sites)... Ah, yes, they put it right on the top. Selective information for selective audiences, I suppose. They also display more of the older models... Interesting. I wonder if perhaps I just wasn't looking at the right spot on the Japanese site.
... I do tend to wander off on my own tangents, don't I?
Now, I know I said that we would be discussing e-mail addresses today, but... frankly, I haven't come up with enough possibilities to really make a good discussion yet, so that post will just have to wait.
This is Edo, signing off already imagining the solid feel of a well-made Japanese phone in her hands once more.