9/5/08
Ishida House, Matsudo

I stopped by Yodobashi Camera this morning and bought a microSD card for my camera phone. Now I'll be able to take as many photos and movies as I want without having to worry about running out of space, I hope.

Hirano-san spent the morning explaining the Labo organization to us from a Japanese perspective. Most of it wasn't that exciting, but he did have an interesting way of describing the differences between western and Japanese socialization. He drew two sets of circles; one had a thick inner circle and a thin outer circle, the other vice versa. The circle with the thin outer "shell" represented a westerner: generally outgoing and easy to make friends with, but always maintaining a strong personal zone of privacy. Japanese people tend to be more shy, but because space restraints in Japan make personal space hard to come by, their culture has adapted. Once you really succeed in befriending a Japanese person, your bond is close and there is not as much privacy expected.

After class, all of us interns went out for the evening. We stopped by Shinjuku station and found the Shinjuku Eye, and neat sculpture thing. Then we went and found what is apparently one of the only Mexican restaurants in Japan. It wasn't quite Mexican how I know it, but it was more Mexican than the Italian restaurants are Italian. We played some games (I'm Tupac) and told scary stories, fun times. I didn't get home until almost 11.

My phone is pretty nifty. I've been playing with it and attempting to familiarize myself with it over the last few days, and I've figured out most of the basic stuff. I set it up so it'll work with my gmail (that is, I set gmail to forward to the phone). After sending a few messages, I've found that despite my native language, it's way easier to text in Japanese than it is in English. Part of it is how good the predictive text software is (it regularly correctly predicts words before you even enter one character, based on learned context), part of it is how much better the Japanese alphabet is suited to the keypad, and part of it is that words generally have less characters (even just four or five kana is a long word in Japanese). All that and it plays tennis!

2 comments:

Jennifer said...

I'm so jealous...I've wanted a Japanese cell phone for a long time. :( Lucky you!

Jeff said...

The bit about the circles is interesting. I am left wondering just how little privacy is left after the Japanese outer wall comes down... and whether you think you will adapt as well.

I googled the
eye for some assistance with understanding what you saw.

Aside from the phone's efficiency with Japanese texting ('Merkin phones can do predictive assistance also, so how much of this is due to the relative effort that has been put into predictive algorithms for the respective languages?), is it noticeably more difficult to do English texting with it?