The redoubtable reporters at Japan’s leading business daily, the Nikkei, have just come out with a poll showing that 1,000 Japanese teenagers surveyed recently moaned that their mobile phone bills are eating up to half their pocket money. In fact, a lot of them apparently said they wanted to reduce their spending on mobiles so they could do other productive (consumptive) pursuits such as buying fashion or going to rock concerts (fine, as long as it’s Motorhead). Although this sounds like a silly season story (baring in mind that few things are sillier than Christmas in Japan) and the poll didn’t give any real useful demographics (where, when, ages, etc.) it sounds about right to us!
According to the Nikkei, about a third of the poor darlings said they could only afford to fork out about $100 a month on leisure activities.・But one of the more interesting points was that Nikkei said 82.6% of the respondents said they had cell phones or PHS (Personal Handyphone System) and about half of those spend $45 or more a month on celly charges and 20% of the 1,000 said their favorite way to spend the weekends was surfing the Internet, including mobile surfing.
Again, all this sounds about right to us here on the ground in Tokyo. From what we can see if you are over 14 and you don’t have a mobile phone that isn’t under 18 months old, you are a has-been in Japan’s teeniebopper society.
At the same time, Vodafone has just hit the TV with a new round of “Happy Packet” commercials featuring a remarkably sensible looking teenage girl on a pair of scales lamenting her $35 bill…if she adopted Happy Packet, she could get this down to $7 and chat more about her new Chanel/ Gucchi/ L. Vitton handbag to her friends.
Talking about Happy Talk, Vodafone K.K. also today announced that on Jan. 1 2004 they gained more than 20,000 new contracts, according to a 2004 mission statement/ pep talk released by Darryl Green in a fax which popped in today. We wonder, is this the cut rates, new Sanyo Slider and NEC Telly Celly working some early magic and New Year Cheer to the good folks at little V who forgot to put out a bunch of phones last autumn?
In the fax, Green talked of the extremely difficult・situation faced by Vodafone K.K. at the moment and asked everyone to do their best.・In fact, Green has just given his troops a new slogan for the year 土ugenjiko,・which roughly translates as do as you say,・as opposed to the other form of the Japanese 土ugen-phoo-jiko,・which, rather remarkably, as it sounds, translates as something like he’s all talk and no action・ or as we Brits like to say, full of piss and wind!
– The Editors