Getting a Cellphone

Getting a Cellphone

Getting a cellphone is supposed to be fairly easy, especially for a pre-paid phone…Isn’t it? Well, tell that to the guy who was screaming at the poor Japanese lady while trying to get a second phone. First, to get a cellphone in Japan, or in my case a pre-paid cellphone, you must be living in Japan for more then 3 months, and of course you’ll have to sign up for a residence card – stating that what your address is and that you have permission to live there. After that you must bring your residence card, or a piece of paper that is the same as the residence card before you pick it up, with your passport and a way to pay for the phone – i.e. bank card, cash. That man, even though opening a second line through the same company, was pissed about the rules of the company. He didn’t have his passport.

 

All phones are registered in Japan, and by having you provide identification while getting a phone is to ensure that the phone is not used in an illegal way.

 

You can choose between three companies, much like the states. The companies are Docomo, AU, and Softbank. Docomo is fairly more expensive, but has better network coverage/reception – kind of like Version. Softbank is the sole holder of the Apple Iphone, but their network is just like AT&T’s. A lot of my friends have softbank as their network provider, I’m not quite sure if a lot of Japanese do.

Foreign visitors, staying under 3 months, cannot buy a cellphone, pre-paid or not. You can rent them at the airport; you can also rent a sim card. This is suggested only if you really cannot live without your phone; it’s fairly expensive if you stay for a long period of time.

If you are English speaking and understand little to no Japanese like me, you would most probably go to one of the English speaking locations. English speaking locations are in Shibuya, Omotesando (by Harajuku), and Ropponggi. First, I went to Ikebukuro to try a Japanese speaking Softbank…then I went to Shibuya, they were both sold out of pre-paid phones. I learned from this and called the other two English speaking branches, luckily Ropponggi had one more type in stock – and it was the model I wanted 821SC, it had a TV in it that you can watch for free. This adventure teaches us one thing, never go buy a pre-paid phone near the beginning of the school year if you can- a massive amount of students will try to buy a pre-paid phone and stores will be sold out of them.  But if you must get one get one as soon as possible, and call ahead of time to make sure they have the phone you want in stock!

Did all this with the rain, and it was apparently the beginning of a typhoon! I’m so thankful for a cellphone though, it was worth going out for it.

My Japanese Cellphone. If you notice the cellphone accessory, it is quite popular to put dangling accessories here in Japan. Sometimes these accessories overwhelm the phone itself, what do I mean by overwhelm? Completely over take it, the phone is smaller and lighter than the accessories added to it! Crazy.


 My cellphone strap that is so KAWAII!!! <3
Gomennyasai, written on the pink plate, means “forgive me” with a cat tone “nya”.

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