Monday, 10 November 2008

Getting Connected While In Japan

That's a photo of me trying to figure out how to use a public phone in Japan. I was trying to call Umie to check up on her home address, to send a bag to her home through a takkyubin service. Umie, remember that heavy blue bag of mine? Hehehe...

Funny thing was, I've not used a public phone in Malaysia for ages! My mobile phone/handphone is my lifeline and when I lost my phone, it's like losing a way to communicate too!

Do you have roaming service whenever you are overseas for a vacation?

I used to feel that there was no need to have one while vacationing (I don't need people back home to call me anyway) but last year's vacation to Japan made me think otherwise. I guess it was because I was meeting a few people in Japan and it was quite hard not be able to be contactable by them and also because our schedule was very flexible and I needed to contact our hotels to change/cancel our reservations.

To be able to have roaming service in Japan, I would need to have a 3G network (which I am not subscribing, BTW). And since I am a Maxis subcriber, the charges are calculated this way : roaming operator's charge + local voice charge + Maxis 10% surcharge for making and receiving calls. Sounds expensive. o_O

I am weighing the possibility of having a handphone while in Japan for our next vacation if there are people who actually wanted to meet me there. Makes arranging to meet up much simpler than having to rely on e-mails and public phones! (I almost missed meeting with Contamination if I didn't check my e-mail that morning in March!)

I would prefer getting a nice prepaid phone than renting one (nice to bring back that phone back as souvenir), but seems like prepaid phone are restricted for residents; non-residents and short-terms residents may not apply.

These are Softbanks regulations of prepaid mobile phones, but is similar to others.

* The applicant's visa must be valid for at least 90 days following the date of application.
* Valid passport.
* Must bear the applicant's photograph and the same address, name, and date of birth as the application form.
* Those with a non-resident or short-term resident status may not apply.
* Proof of current address
(any of ①Residential registration certificate ②Public utilities receipt ③Printed matter issued by goverment or public offices) when the address shown on your card differs from that on the application form. (The name on the alien registration card must match the name of the applicant)


  1. what my friend jue did when she visited us in japan was to rent a mobile phone from softbank. the phone was used mainly to receive calls as she would give me missed calls, and i would call her back. since i used to be a softbank customer, all softbank-to-softbank calls were free from 1 a.m. to 9.p.m., including calls i made to jue's phone.

    softbank used to be the leader in mobile subscription, and might still be. so, if u feel comfortable enough - u might want to ask friends you are meeting up with if they are using softbank, and if they mind making call-back if u give them a missed call...

  2. I never ever use public phones cos like you, I always carry my handphone with me wherever I am. I use roaming services when go overseas, but then again, normally I don't make use of the phone all that much when overseas : )

  3. Despite the official regulations, I've had no trouble obtaining a prepaid phone from Softbank on a short-stay visa on two different occasions. I think they are willing to bend the rules if you look genuine and not like someone who will sell the phone on to the next drug dealer.

  4. @a z haida,
    Thanks for the info.

    I always carry my handphone even though there was no coverage because I stashed a lot of info in my handphone too! But sure shy to whip out my old Nokia in front of the Japanese people. My handphone is so out of date. :D

    I've been told that only the Shibuya branch is flexible with the ruling i.e. not asking for the alien card etc.

  5. Having roaming service when travelling is practical esp when you need to contact someone or you need to be contactable by others.

  6. Maybe it's time you get a new handphone! : )

  7. @MBL,
    true, but we try to avoid being contactable while vacationing. :D

    have to save money for our 2009 trip lah.

  8. I was about to say buy a temporary phone/number there but you covered that already. That's what people i know do anyway.

    Hmm, but it's so strick over there huh? Come to think of it, it's the same here isn't it? With the whole prepaid numbers have to be registered thing. HMM..

    That renting a phone thing sounds good. Uh, that could be a pretty good business idea if it didn't exist over here. But then again, it would be as dangerous as not registering prepaid numbers. HMM HMM..

  9. @Shaun,
    If I'm not mistaken, there is phone rental available for foreigners here too, but I don't think it is promoted widely. We locals don't need them mah...

    I like getting a prepaid because the Japanese phones are so cool!

  10. owh lina...misti ingat maaa..hehe..can't forget the magic moment when your blue bag yang maha berat tapi tiada alamat pengirim tu sampai my house:)

  11. @Umie,
    & dengan alamat tak siapnya itu... wakaka....


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