Japan is leading the world in good ways and bad ways regarding the mighty beast called the internet, or if you're from Yorkshire 'tinternet' or from Japan 'interneto'. Japan easily ranks number 1 in the world for internet speeds: they have a median rate of 6.1 megabits per second compared to the USA's lousy 1.9 megabits per second.
This is offset by the curiously long time it can take to get an internet connection to your home. I'm always coming and going; and when I'm here for a while I order the internet. It can take 3 weeks to a month for them to get round to getting that internet juice flowing into your pad. There are several internet provider options and they all tease you with massive speeds and cheap monthly rates if you move your phone line over to them. It's that old give-something-free to make more money chestnut.
For about $40 Yahoo! BB in Japan is offering an upgraded service of 50 Mbps downloads and 30 Mbps upload. That's awesome news for illegal downloaders. All those films and porn will zap onto the users computer hard drive.
Talking of Yahoo! (what would Johnny Swift have made of that branding idea). It kicks Google's proverbial ass in Japan. The population for some unknown reason (from my point of view) prefers the gauche searches provided by Yahoo! and they seem to prefer selling their odd junk through Yahoo! auction rather than Ebay. I suppose the difference is good. I hate the thought of world domination and monopolies. Unless, that is, I'm in the driving seat. Talking of monopolies I apologise for the broken links in the last post. It seems Japanese TV are keen like Premiership football to chase down all those copyright infringement vid clips.
Which is bizarre because traditionally there has been no government response to that beautiful thing called file sharing which allows anybody with half a brain to get just about any movie, song etc. for free from a host of wicked sites. This sadly is about to change. The Japan Times recently reported that the grey heads in power are keen to tow the corporate line and stop all that good free stuff. So if I were you I'd leave my computer on for the next few weeks to make the most of it before we start seeing 12 year old kids being made an example of in the courts.
Another area of the internet that is soon to change is the unlimited internet access available to third gen wireless mobile phone users in Japan. The folks from the land of the rising sun, it seems, have gone porn crazy. Not content to view the blessed stuff at home they want to watch it on the go and at work on their phones. The system basically is struggling to keep up with the demand.
That brings me onto one of my pet bete noirs. The Japanese obsession with their f##king phones. They play with them like chronic masturbaters. On the train gangs of school kids text away while ignoring their mate sitting next to them. In bars people leave them open on the bar counter just in case. They are forever fiddling with the damned things. No one reads to fill the time. No one, it appears can be without one. Many have abandoned internet email accounts and just keep a phone address. Why have they turned their back on the far more powerful and bigger screen options available with laptops and PCs to sell their soulless souls to the phone companies? Is it that the Japanese have a nasty habit of idolizing the small and cute and over-wrapped item that is surely a driving force behind the forces of environmental destruction? Who knows. I know that no self-respecting short-skirted girl can be seen dead without a mass of fluffy cute accessories that makes the phone itself a lot less mobile and compact. The use of mobile phones at school is at last being recognised for the problem it most certainly is. In 2008 a survey showed that school kids made 20 emails a day but hardly ever made a call. It is cheap to text but also, perhaps, direct real time communication might be becoming too much of a challenge to youngsters. This latest generation of Japanese while being the most internet savvy might also turn out to be the least interesting and interested folk ever to blight the planet.