first world problems

May 17, 2010

It’s blogmania in Japanistan!

You know, at the risk of sounding like a broken record (or a poorly encoded mp3, depending on your generation), I’ve just about had it with all this iPhone talk. I got mine well over a year ago, shortly after they were released in Japan. Let me clarify on one point; while Japan will probably be the first country to manufacture a fully-automated, talking robot-maid (with a short skirt and visibly frilly underpants), or batteries that actually recharge themselves as you use them (I wouldn’t be surprised at this point), they are also surprisingly behind the curve when it comes to normal, everyday technologies that other countries have been taking for granted for years. The most obvious example of this is internet banking. That’s right, you literally can’t log into your bank account on a computer in Japan. What’s worse, is that an obscene amount of banking is still done (shudder) face-to-face. Surely we’ve advanced enough to be able to avoid any and all unnecessary human interaction, haven’t we? But I digress.

The iPhone hit Japan at least a year after everywhere else. This is a country where every single mobile phone (and every baseball-playing highschool boy) looks and acts exactly the same, so I somewhat understand their initial reticence. Alas, those phones were not for me! Shamefully, ruefully, I was actually among the first in Japan to get an iPhone. This was the second concession I had made to the Jobsian Empire, after I got an iPod Nano about 6 months before (can’t argue with that battery life).

For a while there, the iPhone and I got along swimmingly. It was just the two of us, sure we were a little misunderstood, but at least we had our privacy. Things have changed, though. Not for the better. These days, every gaijin and their girlfriend has an iPhone. And I gotta hear about it.

No offence to my friends, but the next time I see an Apple product-related Facebook status update, I’m gonna go climb the clock tower. Likewise, if we’re out having a beer or something, don’t get your iPhone out and start talking about whatever leet new apps you have, or whatever mind-numbingly shit game you’re currently playing with thirteen of your similarly unique friends, or worse still, start posting on Twitter or Facebook. Where’s the iPhone app for beating people over the head? Whatever, it’s probably jailbreak-only.

Initially, the iPhone was a niche product that only the cutting-edge and tech-savvy dabbled in. In the early days of the iPhone’s subtle invasion of Japan, I didn’t mind being a part of that privileged minority. But Apple have yet again conquered the minds of the unsuspecting public, and friends that I thought would have remained immune to their covert psycho-warfare have since fallen victim in the most horrible ways possible. People today revere and depend upon their iPhones like the repenting elderly appeal to God on their deathbeds.

But the point of this rant is not so much a refreshing of my long-standing vendetta against Apple; it’s that yet again I feel like our reliance upon technology is infringing upon our real human relationships. Even though I have cut down a lot, I myself still spend way more time than I would like on Facebook. I am proud to say I have never even visited Twitter’s home page and to be honest I don’t really even know what it is. I don’t really post on forums that much anymore, and most of my time online is spent reading about upcoming video games or watching live sports.  I am trying to take my social life, as much as possible, back to the old analogue way of doing things. Because everyone knows that vinyl sounds better anyway.