At least that is what they tell me! I like Japan and have had some interesting, enjoyable and indeed unique experiences here, otherwise I would not have stayed in this country since 1987. But over the years, I've had an earful of people telling me directly or indirectly how unique Japan and its people are, and I've had to burst more than one person's bubble. Sometimes incorrectly.
Mezamashi TV had a segment on the lastest gyaru language. If you're not familiar, gyaru are the sort of schoolgirls who hang out in Shibuya or Harajuku, dress in the latest fashion and speak in a sort of code. Here's the three I remember:
* ムカTK mukaTK - mukatsuku, to be pissed off. The original's just as easy, ladies.
* モレる moreru - um, to be dressed up, with your hair in a bun with cute accessories. Comes from "moritsukeru" to decorate.
* シカメ shikame - from shikato and meeru, ignore mail. To have blown off answering someone's text message. I hear that a large percentage of schoolkids get really stressed about "shikame", in all seriousness.
At any rate, remembering these is one thing, but using them is another, so remember this: if an "oyaji" (middle-aged guy) like me uses gyaru-go, he's ostracized by his daughters and subjected to the "uzai" label for all time. :-)
I went to a Softbank shop in Shibuya, Tokyo and asked how much it would cost to upgrade an iPhone 3G to an iPhone 3GS. The clerk told me that for the 16GB model it would be an additional JPY 780 per month for 24 months, totaling JPY 18,720, assuming the continuation of my current contract. That sounded about right to me, given the US prices.
I wanted to see if I could just buy one outright, and slipped into another general electronics store that was selling iPhones from Softbank and other phones. Unfortunately, the clerk in the second store told me that the "discount" you get with a new contract is not valid for the upgrade, so you end up paying a total of about JPY 70,000. Additionally, you cannot just buy a phone in the US and have it activated for use here.
Yep. That's a whopping USD 700.00 for an iPhone 3GS from Softbank Japan, and the "after discount" pricing is only for new contracts, not for upgraders. Wow, I'm stunned (while at the same time I'm hoping I'm wrong) at being penalized for wanting to upgrade. What a way to engender loyalty, Softbank.
I guess the only thing to do is to wait until Softbank change the pricing, which they eventually did for the 3G, after some time had passed.
I feel like a lifeless husk that's been trampled on and ground into dust. :-/
Japan morning TV reported that "One Coin" (ワンコイン) services are all the rage these days in Japan, due to the down economy. What this phrase means is that you can buy a good or service with a single 500 yen coin, or about USD 5.00.
Indeed, you can see them here and there:
* "Makudonarudo" McDonald's has a 500 yen value set.
* "One Coin" lunches at salary-man lunch joints.
* Short foot massages for 500 yen.
* "Test Esthe" at Miss Paris Esthetic Salon for "one coin".
* Yoshinoya and Matsuya meat bowls for 500 yen.
Next time you're out and about in Tokyo, keep an eye out for "one coin" ワンコイン services.