On July 26th, I board the aluminum behemoth known as a Boeing 777 and fly to the Land of the Rising Sun. It's been 17 years since my last trip to Japan. A trip that included visits to Tokyo, Kyoto, Kanazawa, Osaka and a couple of rides on the Shinkansen or Bullet Train, not to mention shopping in Akihabara, strolling through Shibuya Park and general mischief at Club Gold with Nat and Misuzu.
Preliminary reports indicate that Japan is one of the few places left on Earth whose cellular telephone system does not work with GSM wireless phones. Evidently, one has to rent a phone in Japan or be left without wireless communications.
It's a horrible thought. Especially since I spent $500 on a 4GB iPhone that is supposed to revolutionize my travel and bring the world to my fingertips.
As the thought of not having a cell phone in Japan seeps into the mind, I'm scared. How will I live? How will I communicate? How will I make plans with friends?
It makes me wonder how I survived in the years prior to a cell phone. When large groups of my friends would plan, meet and party the night away - all without the convenience of calling each other on their cell to arrange everything. How did it happen? Did we just plan to meet at a certain place and at a certain time and just made it???
This trip will encompass hanging out with friends who are arriving from all over the world. All of whom will have some form of crippled communication. How will we meet and coordinate? I've also got friends who live in Tokyo - how will I coordinate with them?
No cell phones? That's a Brave New World.
It shouldn't be all that bad. When I was in Ethiopia, my cell phone didn't work at all (despite reassurances by Cingular prior to my trip that it would) and I was left to fend for myself in the African badlands. Now, I'll be dragged away by screaming Harajuku Girls in schoolgirl uniforms carrying Sanrio tchotchke and I won't be able to tell anyone about that fortunate incident nor send them photos of the carnage.
No cell phones in Japan. I don't know if I'm ready for 1987 all over again...