Save me from the cell phones!

Save me from the cell phones!

Written by sonicsuns

Topics: Blog, Everything

I like cell phones. Cell phones are cool.
/
/
/
/You know what I don’t like?
/
/
/
/Buying cell phones.
/
/
/
/

Here we have a combination Baskin Robins/ cell phone shop. Maybe they're trying to make the cell phone plans seem less intimidating


/
/
/
/Lemme see if I can summarize this. First off, coming to Japan, I knew that I’d want a cell phone. Everyone has cell phones around here, with all sorts of cameras and whatnot, and it’s particularly important to have one in case you get lost (which happens fairly easily around here).
/
/
/
/(And no, you can’t just bring your American phone with you. Japan uses a different system. Even some of the phones that are specifically designed to work all around the world still don’t work in Japan.)
/
/
/
/So after the aforementioned orientation, there was a company called SoftBank set up in the hallway, selling cell phones. Convenient, right? Well, we talked to the main salesguy, who only spoke Japanese. So his salesbuddy (notice how I keep making up words?) had to translate. The cell plans were complicated. There were different rates depending on time of day and who you called and what phone company they were using, and there were 3 different phones you could get and they all had financing plans, and there was some sort of student discount thing that not even the salesdudes seemed to understand.
/
/

“Ohkay, so, its rerry complicated…”

/
/In the end I signed up for the cheapest phone, but I couldn’t get the phone right then because they needed to see my health insurance card. Why they would need that, I don’t know. Anyway, the SoftBank guy said he’d be back on campus later and we could get our phones then.
/
/
/
/So there was this whole other process of going to city hall to apply for health insurance and an alien registration card (which you need anyway, just for being a foreigner). Then a couple days later I get a phone call from a guy speaking Japanese I don’t understand. Eventually he tries English. “Prease come down”. This, it turns out, is the delivery man with the health insurance card (though I still have no clue when to expect the alien registration card).
/
/
/
/So you’d think I’d go see the SoftBank guy and get my cell phone. But before that can happen, my friends and I all go out to this store that sells phones from a rival company, AU. This stuff is even more complicated. The five of us spend more than an hour going through the various options. There’s like seven different plans, each offering different amounts of emails, texting, internet access and calling from the phone per month. There’s two or three discounts that might apply to us, there’s basic fees and phone fees and special rates if you call within your special circle of AU friends. Then there’s cancellation fees if you breach contract (which, we discover, is something SoftBank does too), blah blah blah. It took forever to figure out.
/
/
/
/What follows are pictures of real advertisements that were strewn about the store. My attempts at translation can be found in the captions.
/
/
/
/

If you attempt to understand our cell phone plans, you will suffer mild insanity


/
/
/
/

...followed shortly by purple horror!


/
/
/
/

And then a black-and-white girl will punch you in the face!


/
/
/
/

AND THEN WE WILL CRUSH YOU WITH OUR GIANT ROBOT!


/
/
/
/Geez, guys. It’s almost like you don’t want me to buy a cell phone.
/
/

Just gimme a phone

/
/Group opinion favors of AU over SoftBank. I eventually sign up for the cheapest, most basic plan they have. We all fill out our forms one at a time (we have to go one at a time because we each need the help of the native speaker we brought along with us). The guy needs to photocopy our passports for some reason, but thankfully I’ve been carrying mine around all the time. Then he tells us to come back tomorrow and we’ll get the phones.
/
/
/
/But the next day, it turns out we need another paper from city hall. So sometime later we go back to city hall, pantomime until we get our point across, and get these special papers (which we have to pay for, about $2 each). Then we go back to the cell phone shop on another day, and we get to wait around for 2 hours while the guy fetches the cell phones. Well actually, I wasn’t with the group for that last part. I got my phone on yet another day.
/
/
/
/In the middle of all this we saw the SoftBank guys at campus and got our forms back. (The contract had never actually begun, because we had never shown them the health cards). Probably should’ve gone with SoftBank in the first place. Overall, I think the plans were pretty similar.
/
/
/
/Anyway, I finally have my cell phone now.
/
/
/
/

Yay


/
/
/
/I’d better not lose it.
/
/
/
/–
/
/
/
/One random thing I should add: when you first get a phone, they give you a random texting address, something like lioudfgosgulaksdhf@ezweb.ne.jp . But you can use the phone to choose your own address, replacing the random one. I’d describe to you exactly how to do this, but I kinda forgot.
/
/
/
/Another random thing: Don’t forget to cancel your cell phone contract just before you leave the country. (I forgot, and ended up paying a lot more before I finally got the contract cancelled from abroad.) And back up all your contact info before you do that, in case you still need peoples’ numbers someday.

/ /