Arrived in Tokyo on Monday morning after my week in China. Usually, I kind of dread Tokyo. While a wonderful place with friendly people, Tokyo is a very large city with endless delays and strange rules. One of the most vexing rules involves mobile phones. The Japanese use a unique mobile system (GSM is outlawed there) which is incompatible with any one elses in the world. As I really need a mobile phone, it appeared that the simple solution would be to buy a Japanese model and just use prepaid cards. However, Japan used to have a rule that only Japan resident could buy a handset, to cut down on crime.
I said "HAD", because apparently they have relented on this restriction. On arrival, my concierge told me that I can now purchase a mobile and use pre-paid cards. I thought that this was extremely cool, so I wandered down the block to my local Vodafone store. They had pretty limited selection, and I had even more limited Japanese, so I settled on the default handset for their pre-paid service: Mitsubishi V101D. The phone itself is fairly lightweight (by American standards) and seem to have a bevy of features. I say seems, because unlike most other Japanese mobiles, it appears that the V101D doesn't have English menus. Needless to say this has led to a number of problems, but has increased my Katakana comprehension.
I will keep you updated on my Katakana and mobile learning.