Saturday, November 25, 2006
Ordering from Amazon Japan
Awhile back, I posted about my phone caterwauling at random intervals (most likely due to demonic possession). After stabbing phone-shaped voodoo dolls, calling in a telephonic priest, and just plain ignoring it and hoping it would eventually go away, we gave up and ordered a new phone from Amazon Japan.
Dealing with a Japanese web page when you don't understand most of what is written there can be rather daunting but Google's automatic translation services can help. Well, it can help a little. Anyone who thinks technology will eventually replace human translators should find any non-English page and apply a Google translation to the page and try to understand the mishmash that results.
Fortunately (or unfortunately), I am familiar enough with bad translations of Japanese into English and can decode the translations fairly well. I can read a little of the Japanese (and my husband who studied kanji can read more than I) but not enough to get much of a sense of things so even bad English is better than only Japanese. Once you get through registering with Amazon Japan, they have your address and credit card information so you only have to get through the important stuff once and then just log in and buy, buy, buy thereafter with just a few clicks. If you can't read it yourself, you can get a Japanese friend or coworker to get you through the hard part, just don't forget your user name and password.
Given that Amazon Japan is as cheap or cheaper than most shops and delivers the next day in most cases, it's a pretty good place to turn to first when you need something. I've even been recommending that my students give it a go and they are pleasantly surprised. You'd think they'd investigate it on their own but the Japanese are more suspicious of on-line buying than Americans. Most of them who buy goods on-line have them delivered C.O.D. rather than use their credit cards.
My new phone is not incredibly dissimilar from my old one functionally except for one important point. It lacks the "door phone" functionality that was malfunctioning on my old phone. If it goes wonky, it will have to do so in a different way. As an added bonus, it's supposed to allow you to talk on the cordless handset and the wired handset at the same time. So, if my husband and I want to, we could talk to someone at the same time.
Of course, this is "in theory" since neither of us are phone slaves to begin with. To illustrate this most shockingly, I'll reveal that we don't have cell phones. This point tends to flabbergast most Japanese as they can't seem to go anywhere without their phones glued to their ears, vibrating in the bags, or melded to their hands so they can peck out text messages during any spare moment. Personally, I only grudgingly keep any phone at all so I can receive calls from my student referral agency and students themselves. I can't understand the appeal of being at hand for anyone to interrupt you at any moment.