ケータイ電話 (Kevin Song)

PHONE PROBLEMS: Cellular Phone Etiquette Becomes a Major Issue July 5, 2000  The use of cellular phones in Japan has been widespread since around 1994. It was not until February  1999, however, when NTT DoCoMo introduced its i-mode Internet service for cell phones, that their  use really took off. The age of mobile phones is upon us, but with it come problems that did not exist in  an age when telephones were stationary devices. Society is now turning its attention to the issue of  mobile phone etiquette, and particularly to users who talk on their phones in crowds without concern  for those around them. I-mode Sweeps Japan Cellular phone service in Japan began in 1979 with the invention of the car phone. The present-day  mobile phone emerged in 1987. The real shift, however, occurred only in 1994, when regulatory reform  allowed for cellular phones to be purchased rather than rented. It can therefore be said that the cellular  phone phenomenon took shape much more slowly in Japan than in places like Europe and the United  States, where mobile phones became popular soon after the development of car units, or Hong Kong,  where the phones were actively sought status symbols. Since 1994, however, the cost of cellular phones and service plans has dwindled, leading to a sharp  increase in the consumer base. Since 1996 phone sales have swelled at a rate of 10 million per year. In  1999, when NTT DoCoMo introduced i-mode, a cell-phone service that enables users to view Web  pages and send e-mail, sales shot up even more. Using i-mode, one can access the Web instantly without the necessity of a computer. There was no  service like i-mode in Europe or the United States at the time it was marketed in Japan, and so it caught  the attention of the foreign press, which characterized it as a Japanese IT revolution. By February 2000,  only one year after the service was introduced, the total number of mobile phone users reached 55.5  million, 4.2 million of which had i-mode. And even after that the number of i-mode users increased at a  rate of roughly 1 million per month, surpassing 7 million by late May. The beauty of i-mode is that it allows one to view the contents of any Internet Web site through a small  liquid crystal monitor on the phone terminal itself. Even people who lack computer skills can easily  read Web pages provided they can operate the buttons of a telephone. There are as many as 6,000 sites  especially designed for i-mode phones, featuring simple graphics and quicker download times and  navigation. Some of the roughly 340 services offered through these sites include online banking, news  updates, airline and concert ticket reservations, and restaurant reviews. I-mode has proven so popular  that other cellular service providers are now scrambling to introduce similar Internet services. Poor Etiquette Arouses Concern The number of mobile phone terminals in use has now exceeded the number of standard telephone  lines, which was 55.7 million in late February. But the popularity of the phones has led to an increasing  number of people using them on buses and trains, at times shouting into their phones as though  oblivious to those around them. It has therefore become common in most forms of public transportation  for operators to ask passengers to refrain from using cell phones while on board. Though the situation  is improving, trouble still arises between phone users and neighboring passengers. In March the Tokyo metropolitan government made a move to prohibit the use of mobile phones on  city subways and buses by broadcasting a call for self-restraint on the part of passengers. And  beginning in April the East Japan Railway Co. changed the message on its trains, to include bullet trains, from "Please respect other passengers and refrain from using cellular phones" to a much stronger  version: "Turn off all cellular phones during crowded hours." One reason for all this is the fear that when a phone rings near a person using a pacemaker, the radio  waves from the device might interfere with the functioning of the pacemaker. Though people have long  known of this possibility, it is becoming a matter of greater social concern: Some now advocate  prohibiting mobile phone use on buses and trains as the number of people using pacemakers steadily  increases with an aging population. But users also fear that if they do not answer their phones they will lose valuable business  opportunities, and so a great number of people do not turn off their phones even when asked to. In  short, the improvement of cell-phone etiquette is considerably slower than the increase of consumers  themselves. CALLING AND DRIVING DON'T MIX:  Safety Measures in the Works to Counter Portable Phone-Related Accidents  SEPTEMBER 25, 1996 Phone-Related Accidents Reach 129 in June  Along with the explosive increase in cellular phone use, traffic accidents associated with their use have  also risen sharply. According to a National Police Agency survey, June this year saw 128 accidents  causing injury, and 1 accident resulting in death, where the driver was operating a portable phone at the  time. Of the 129 accidents, 123 involved more than one car, and 98 (80%) of these car-car crashes were  rear-endings.  Examining how drivers were using the phones at the time of the accidents, the NPA found that 54  crashes (42%) occured while answering the phone, 40 (31%) while placing a call, 21 (16%) during a  phone conversation, and 7 (5%) while hanging up. The distraction of a ringing telephone is seen as a  reason why accidents in the first category outnumber those in the second.  Indeed, police accident reports show a large number of drivers who said, "My phone rang and I took  my eyes off the road." Other common explanations included "I was looking at the phone to dial a  number/answer a call" and "I was paying attention to my conversation"; all of these situations saw the  drivers ignoring traffic conditions ahead of their vehicles.  Teaching "Driver Self Control"  In response to the sudden jump in these accidents, the NPA promptly revised teaching materials used in  driver training, adding such instructions as "do not use a cellular telephone while you drive" and "turn  off your phone's power when driving." The agency hopes in this way to emphasize the importance of  phone-related traffic safety when people acquire their driver's licenses.  An increasing number of countries are placing legal restrictions on the use of portable telephones while  driving: Switzerland, for example, has outlawed the use of all but hands-free telephones by the driver  of a car. The NPA plans to experimentally measure the attention levels and braking-response times of  drivers using phones and consider the necessity for legal measures on the basis of this scientific data.  Phone Makers Working on Safety Systems  Makers of cellular telephones are working to educate the public, spreading the safety message through  newspaper ads that warn: "Stop your car in a safe place before you use your phone!" The companies  are also including fliers with cellular phone billing statements that ask the customer to "refrain from  using phones while driving."
Phone producers are also putting their research departments to work on new accident-prevention and  safety features to be built into future products. Systems under consideration include headphone units  with controls located on the steering wheel and phones the driver can switch to an automatic answering  mode with the touch of a button, that will record all messages during the drive.  NOVELS DELIVERED TO YOUR PHONE E-mail Opens New Possibilities for Old Medium (March 10, 2004) Nowadays the sight of people passing time on the train by sending e-mail with their mobile phones is  an everyday occurrence in Japan. This technology has now led to the emergence of a new and  unexpected phenomenon: people reading entire novels on their mobile phones. The growing population  of readers consists mainly of young people in their late teens and early twenties, the first generation to  have grown up with e-mail. One novel that achieved popularity through this new medium went on to be  published in print and became a million-copy bestseller. The fact that the novel is now being made into  a movie illustrates just how far this phenomenon has come.  A New Medium The bestselling novel Deep Love was self-published in installments by the author on a website that  offers content packaged for users of mobile phones. The story is about a 17-year-old girl named Ayu,  who finds love through a chance encounter. The author, who calls himself Yoshi, created a website providing content for mobile phones in May  2000 with an investment of just ¥100,000 ($909.09 at ¥110 to the dollar). Using a promotional  campaign that consisted of passing out business cards to about 2,000 high-school girls in front of  Tokyo's Shibuya Station (the center of Tokyo youth culture), Yoshi released The Story of Ayu, the first  installment in the longer novel. News of the novel spread by word of mouth, and within three years the  site had received a total of 20 million hits.  Mobile phones can receive e-mail of up to 1,600 characters. While this is more than adequate for most  personal use, the limit presents unique challenges to the author of a novel. Yoshi, however, not only  managed to overcome this challenge but even turned it to his advantage by keeping the prose concise  and fast-paced. The novel maintains a straightforward, conversational style and avoids the use of  difficult words. Thanks to this quality, the story has found favor even among people who do not  typically read novels. From the Mobile Phone to the Silver Screen Yoshi used the unique nature of mobile phones and the Internet to make his story an interactive one.  Readers e-mailed him with their feedback, and he incorporated some of their ideas into the story while  it was in progress, so that new plot twists were constantly being added. This work was truly a  collaboration between Yoshi and his readers.  Now Yoshi is making a film based on his novel and is directing it himself. He started filming Deep  Love at the end of 2003, and rather than relying on a film distributor, Yoshi is approaching movie  theaters directly, hoping to persuade theater operators by using his website to gather 1 million  supportive e-mails from readers. Given that the mobile-phone users who make up his fan base did such  a good job of spreading word of his novel, Yoshi hopes that harnessing their collective power will be a  good way to get the film distributed as well. Major Publishers Get Involved The number of mobile phones currently in use in Japan is a staggering 78 million. About two out of  three people have one. The potential of "mobile-phone novels" has captured the attention of major  publishers, which have begun creating their own websites to provide content for mobile-phone users.
Shinchosha Co.'s Shincho Keitai Bunko ("Shincho Mobile-Phone Collection"), Kadokawa Shoten  Publishing's Bunko Yomihodai ("All-You-Can-Read Collection"), and Sharp Corp.'s Space Town  Books are just a few examples. Users can download books from these sites to read at their leisure. A  typical service plan offers unlimited use for a flat monthly fee of ¥100-¥300 ($0.91-$2.73) or charges  around ¥400 ($3.64) per book. Users must also pay a download fee of anywhere from ¥100 ($.091) to  ¥700 ($6.36) per book to the provider of their phone service.  Readers of these novels enjoy the medium for a variety of reasons, most having to do with the  convenience and possibilities that mobile phones offer, such as not having to go to a bookstore, being  able to read anywhere without carrying a book around, and being able to read in the dark. Some of the websites providing content for mobile phones have been offering free downloads of  famous works whose copyrights have expired. The major publishing houses are channeling resources  into this area as well. Although the market for novels packaged for users of mobile phones has not yet  reached ¥100 million ($909,090), some predict that three years from now it will be worth ¥10 billion  ($90.9 million). For a number of years now, commentators have been lamenting the decline of reading  among young people, but this new medium may have the potential to reverse this trend.

ひきこもり (Jonathan Wagner)



ルーズソックス (Eunice Cho)

ルーズソックス (和製英語:loose socks

ルーズソックスは主に女子高校生の間で、制服をアレンジしたファッションとして、流行している(男性は履かない)。中学生もルーズソックスを着用している。だが、小学生以下の女の子、高校を卒業した女の子は、ほとんどルーズソックスを着用しない。「ミニスカート + ルーズソックス = 女子高生の象徴」というイメージが強いから、それ以外の者が履くことはふさわしくないと考えられている。






ルーズソックスがさらに緩い形になった:スーパールーズ(super loose)やゴム抜きルーズ(ゴムを抜いたルーズソックス)。







渋谷と若者 (Anton Birkel)

I am going to discuss this topic based on my first-hand observations. However, before I begin I think you should glance over this website so you will understand what I’m talking about.

I studied at The University of Tokyo for one year and lived in International Student housing they provided for me at one of their 3 campuses. The campus I lived on was the Komaba campus, which is a 10 minute walk from downtown Shibuya. Unfortunately my laboratory was at the Hongo campus (on the other side of Tokyo) causing me to go through Shibuya station every day. Since Shibuya is a stone’s throw from my apartment, I often wandered around there observing everything.

Shibuya (渋谷町 not 渋谷区) is a relatively small city as compared to other places in Tokyo (such as Ikebukuro) but is always very busy. There are 3 main streets branching off from the station packed with stores, places to eat, and places to play. Most stores are fashion stores, but there are some electronics and drug stores as well. There are a number of restaurants, ranging from cheap food, to rather decent restaurants (but nothing elegant). In terms of places to play, there are many izakayas (which are both for eating and playing), pachinko parlors, game centers, puri-kura stores, shady stores in back alleys at which one can buy oral sex, as well as a very large concentration of love hotels.

Even in my weekday afternoons off from school I saw many people there and often wondered what they were doing on a weekday (as many of them were in their late twenties). I eventually concluded that they must be NEET and are out enjoying themselves. However, during the day I rarely saw the GALS (as linked to above − note, they can also be male) − they came out in the evening, most likely because they sleep all day and play all night.

The center street is a dirty cobbled road for pedestrians only, and is where most GALS hang out. I mean this literally − you can often walk down the road and you will see groups of GALS sitting in a circle in the middle of the street (remember, the street is very dirty, the red bricks look brown) talking very loudly and enjoying themselves. I often times saw people walk by and take their picture − the GALS would always strike a pose if they noticed the photographer.

It has been said that Shibuya is dangerous at night − but I was there after the 終電 left several times (remember, I can walk home) and felt perfectly safe. Surprisingly, I wasn’t alone. Many izakayas in Japan are open all night long until trains start the next morning allowing people to play all night long. It has also been said that drug deals (Japan has a VERY strict policy against drugs − much more so than the United States) and paid sex (note, this is different than the “shady” stores I referenced before − those stores don’t sell sex, they sell oral sex which I suppose is legal in Japan) occur at night in Shibuya, however, I failed to notice such things. I did, however, notice guys asking random girls if they’ be interested in signing up for a job. A few times I saw girls sitting down with a clipboard filling out the forms − I can only assume they these were either modeling contracts (unlikely) or recruitment for the “shady” stores (which are apparently very popular) or to be an actress in an adult film.

It then became fairly obvious to realize why so many rebellious kids flock to Shibuya. Of course, many people other than rebellious teens and GALS go to Shibuya looking to have fun with their friends or find good deals on clothes.

There is a very good, short article that offers a very insightful look at shibuya, youth culture, and how they are a response to traditional Japanese society.

It’s a 5-10 minute read (it has pictures!) and I highly recommend it:


甘え (Eemaan Jalili)

the meaning of amae is...
amae; a tendency to depend too easily on somebody who is close to and older than one, such as one's parent, teacher, etc.

Article on Wikipedia.org that describes amae really well: 


パラサイトシングル (Teresa Chen)

The expression was first used by Professor Masahiro Yamada of Tokyo Gakugei University in his bestselling book The Age of Parasite Singles (パラサイトシングルの時代, parasaito shinguru no jidai), published in October of 1999. The catchy phrase quickly found its way into the media and is now a well-known expression in Japan.

              It was estimated that there were 10 million parasite singles in Japan in 1995. According to a 1998 survey by the Ministry of Health and Welfare, about 60% of single men and 80% of single women between the ages of 20 and 34 live with their parents. These numbers have been steadily increasing since 1976.
While some adult children help with the household chores or even pay a share of the rent, the vast majority do not. According to some statistics, about 85% of the children do not help with shared living expenses, but instead receive free housekeeping, laundry and meals from their parents. On top of that, about 50% of the children receive additional financial assistance from their parents (however, other sources say that 50% of the children do contribute to the living expenses).
This situation allows the children to live in considerable comfort, and while many save money, others spend all their income on luxury items, traveling, and other non-essential expenses. Many children wish to live with their parents until they marry.
The parents, for their part, often enjoy living with their children. Many parents want to protect their children and offer them the best possible start in life, trying to give them the opportunities they themselves never had. Parents also enjoy the company and the social interaction and try to maintain the relationship. The additional expenses for the parents due to the additional household member are usually small, as the fixed costs like rent have to be paid anyway, and the additional cost for food and other consumables is usually negligible. Many parents also see this as an investment in their future, as the children will be more obliged to take care of their parents in their old age (in Japan it is traditionally the children that nurse their elderly and disabled parents).
The primary reason for the parasite single phenomenon is not economic, as this phenomenon has always existed in Japan. However, the housing costs in Japan are notoriously high, especially in or near large cities. A parasite single who chose to live independently would on average lose 2/3 of his or her disposable income. Furthermore, they would also have to do the cleaning and cooking for themselves. Finally, establishing a household has a large up front cost for durable items as for example a refrigerator, furniture, washing machine, and other items.
Parasite singles are often blamed for a large number of problems in Japan, ranging from a decline in the birth rate over the economic recession to the increase in crime. Professor Yamada claims that the "spoiled" women that grew up during the bubble economy are particularly to blame. However, many people also feel that the young adults have no option but to become parasite singles in the current difficult economic situation, having to choose between career and family. However, this discussion has disappeared as the economic situation has improved and it has been demonstrated that the so-called "lost decade" had little, if any, effect on this phenomenon