携帯の思い出 - mobile phone memories
in japan, maybe more than in any other country, the 携帯電話 ("keitaidenwa" - mobile phone) is omnipresent. everyone has one and frankly, compared to a land line, there are several advantages to a mobile phone. it's cheaper than a land line, it has a coolness factor to it no land line phone can compare to and you're availabe everyhwere. decide for yourself whether the last argument is a blessing or a curse.
starting out as a simple replacement, the mobile phone has grown into a gadget of respectable functionality sporting a camera, an address book, a calendar and with more recent models, tv functionality, web-browsing and flash memory for listening to audio files while being out and about.
surfing the web from the mobile phone is growingly steadily, not only in japan, also in france, the us and in other countries but it is only in japan where the selection of plans (abos) and models so is vast that mobile phone purchase consulting could become a job.
and so it is that most likely everyone has a mobile phone, even student visa holders. of course, i felt like i needed one too. once i had it it was worth it but i was not using it enough to really profit from it.
anyway, after 2.5 years of using, i accumulated quite a number of pictures on my mobile of which i will present a selection here.
october 2004: karaoke with fabio and some other guys. fabio from ticino had a healthy, take-no shit-attitude. he was fighting very hard to stay in japan back then. i wonder where he is now.
october 2004: i-fan from taiwan. classmate from the first class in aijp i was in. nice girl but i wish we had met under different circumstances. she's back in taiwan working for a japanese company.
november 2004: dave from switzerland when i hosted him for a night in the yamasa student village after one of his typically late phone calls: "do you know where i could stay tonight?" he spent quite a while in japan and recently travelled through china and japan. check out his blog
november 2004: natascha from basel in switzerland. classmate of mine, same class as with i-fan back then. she moved on to a school in kobe and i haven't heard from her ever since.
november 2004: jamie from new york. he's probably the guy who spent the most money of them all at yamasa. he was all over the place boarding, skating, surfing and studying as well. i wish my pockets were as deep as his. latest i heard about him: he found a japanese girlfriend but she was staying abroad in australia so that's where he flew (surfed?) to, too.
november 2004: jan from france. likes to party hard and long and there are pictures to prove it (but i don't have any). used to work as a unix/solaris system administrator and so he moved to tokyo where he still dwells and parties on, i assume.
january 2005: armin from germany. what can is say... the way he holds the book says it all. i don't think there's any trace of malice in his mind. a truly good person. he couldn't care less about his (ab-)use of japanese vocabulary and grammar, but hey, he seems to get away with it.
february 2005: sayo from japan and chris from switzerland. a former teacher at yamasa and now living in germany, sayo definitely had her share of hardship but she seems to be happy now. sometimes it seems we can't exchange two words without losing some sharp-tongued words as well which is somewhat tiring and pitiful. well, add this to next new year's resolutions.
february 2005: kaori from japan and armin from germany (see above). kaori has a broad interest in languages and speaks japanese, english, chinese and some german. sugoi! she also keeps two dogs which would be very cute if one dog's bladder wouldn't be leaking and the other dog wouldn't be (more than half-)blind. sometimes life is just cruel...
march 2005: reika from hungary. probably the cutest pyjama shot ever! after she finished her studies at yamasa she went back to hungary where she teaches (english) history now. quite a change in career. although we promised to keep in touch we somehow don't. maybe she'll send me an angry mail after this newsletter. still better than nothing ^_^
april 2005: sai from taiwan. サイと言えば、ビール. i don't think there's a better way to summarize her in fewer words. as far as i know, she's still in nagoya, studying to become a tourist guide. 頑張れ！
july 2005: a picture i sent to kaori via mobile phone. it's a candleholder and there's an important message on it although the picture is too dark to read it. sending this meant a lot to me and i hope it meant just as much to kaori receiving it.
august 2005: colin from america. tall guy with a big heart who had a terrible accident but healed faster than any japanese doctor would believe. although we were on friendly terms we never quite made it to the friends-level, lack of effort from my side i'm afraid. he seems to be travelling back and forth between thai and japan nowadays.
august 2005: lake biwa in japan. a nice short-trip to the area of lake biwa . reminded me of home (lake of zurich). on the way, we passed through the area where the battle of sekuhara took place. or was it sekigahara? for some reasons, i always seem to mix the two up ^_^
september 2005: stephanie from singapore. after finishing her studies, she stayed for another year to work in the international office at yamasa. if there is a link between sai and beer, there's gotta be one between stephanie and naruto. or bleach. or any other manga. freaky... she went back to singapore afaik.
november 2005: a still life of two oh so ordinary things but both can be life-savers. an apple a day keeps the doctor away (addition while in japan: and the purse empty) and the japanese-english electronic dictionary (here a canon wordtank g50) turns cryptic japanese writings into legible texts. while i was in japan, i bought three of these dictionaries. one i dropped needed to be replaced and the third one was a x-mas present to a dear friend.
february 2006: a short trip to the outer arm of the mikawa bay. can you say strong winds blowing cold? and yet, the beach was crowded with people enjoying a walk on a sunday afternoon.
march 2006: ian from the u.s. a well-spoken lad and very knowledgeable in japanese (more than he's ready to admit). he'll go far in this world methinks. lingers in tokyo at the moment working in a translation office. i doubt we'll ever meet again but i would welcome that very much.
march 2006: the opening hours of a zoo in toyota.
the sign reads as follows:
from march 1st to november 30th: from 10:00 to 16:30
from december 1st to febraury 28th: from 10:00 to 16:30
WTF? and what about feb 29th?
may 2006: the clock in the main hall in nagoya station. everyone's favourite meeting place and a good place to pick up girls (or so i heard). there are few things more entertaining than just standing there and watching the sometimes charming, sometimes interesting and sometimes plain hideous mix which is japanese fashion. oh, and btw... 80% of japanese girls simply don't know how to walk in high heels.
july 2006: sunrise as seen from the top of mt. fuji at 5 o'clock in the morning and captured by a puny mobile phone camera. read my other newsletter about clmbing mt. fuji. call it a folly but this is a must for everyone, at least once. just like parachuting, broadening the mind with lsd and flying first class.
december 2006: a coffeehouse in gamagori, home to takeshima and yamasa's very own yoshiguchi-sensei, everyone's favourite. behold the wonders of japanese architecture: the second floor just half the size of the first floor and almost no windows. the sarcastic ones among us would say that xenophobia is not part of japanese culture, it's part of their architecture. well, i for one, think that would be correct.
march 2007: modern meets tradtional: origami (skillfully folded paper) and a flatscreen. it's that mix still that calls a lot of people to japan, i think. the mix of vibrant life in places like shibuya and the sights of majestic shapes like that of mt. fuji.
well, that's it for this time. i hope you enjoyed it. and i hope to hear from you, especially if you are in one of those pictures (unless you're clad with a malfunctioning wardrobe and stomping around in high heels)