One thing that always amazes me from Japan is its love-hate relationship with globalization. Sure, Japan is in the front row of the wave of globalization. But it also the one country struggling against the globalization so stubbornly. I've been trying to find the answer whenever I visit Japan. This morning, on the way from Narita airport to Tokyo, I chatted with a senior Japanese citizen. He told me an interesting thing. He said, Japanese elders are worried with the future of Japan. Why so, I asked. He pointed at a bunch of youngters on a train station platform. "You see those kids? They are our future. But look at them. What on earth do they think they are doing with their hair? (each of the kids had colored hair, I noticed). And see what they're reading? Manga! When I was their age, I read history every day. I know by heart all the details of Japanese ups and downs. But those kids. They worry me. They can make us loose our national identity...".
I felt sorry for the old man. But I think such perspective is not unique. You can hear it everywhere: older generations hate the younger ones just because the latter don't like what the former did good (or so they thought). We have that species too in Indonesia. If they were good (or if they liked) mathematics for example, they think everyone who doesn't is dangerous to the country.
But that's not what interested me, frankly speaking.
I was more curious why my mobile is not working here in Japan. I have been using it in other countries. But it is useless here. Simply because my mobile (and so are many of yours) works with GSM system. Unfortunately, Japan refuses to use GSM as its cellular technology. Somebody told me that to get around this problem I should have bought a mobile with 3G technology, or at least a W-CDMA. That way, I can still use it when I am in Japan or other countries that are not GSM subsribers (any other? I thought more than 200 countries use GSM).
So I was thinking. If the world is moving toward more efficient technology, the most usable one would win at the end. Let's see some years from now. Whether Japan is changing to GSM or, people (non-Japan residents) are switching to 3G/W-CDMA mobiles.
Unlike my travel mate this morning, I wouldn't relate the Japanese cellular policy to any sort of nationalism (I think he would). I guess it's just pure business: DoCoMo is too strong an influence to the Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications. It needs competition.
Globalization | Competition