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What would they do without their cell phones?

70 Comments

Women check their cell phones outside a securities firm in Tokyo.

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70 Comments
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Who cares? I think that about sums up society these days!

10 ( +10 / -0 )

They would do "Dou-shiyou?!"

7 ( +9 / -2 )

There will be a load of bored people out there!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

What you're saying is, let's imagine it's 10 or more years ago...

Well, I suppose they'd be in some crappy, low-paid, thankless job, wearing a crappy, ill-fitting uniform, being harangued by some crappy, power-crazy superior; or making tea; or smoking in a smoky office; or all of the above.

Here are young women in their own suits, making a decent living. They are using modern means of communication to contact a friend / colleague / relative / business client. Or perhaps they are watching the news or checking the stock market, or getting information about a restaurant / concert / holiday, which they can then book.

Don't tell me I couldn't catch any of you in a photo, doing exactly the same thing, and call it a sad reflection on modern society!

7 ( +16 / -10 )

Maria they are doing none of the above, they are playing angry birds or some other such mindless game that can be played on Gree.

-1 ( +8 / -9 )

Japan could sink into the Pacific and they'd keep thumbing their keypads until their lungs became depleted of oxygen.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

they are playing angry birds or some other such mindless game

Or they could be making millions in futures contracts...

9 ( +12 / -3 )

Japanese are addicted to cellphones. They live in a their own virtual world. I know all Japanese reading this comment will dislike it. I apologize but it is the truth. This is very harmful for society in long term.

5 ( +11 / -6 )

Maria, They are still probably doing all that now (making tea, getting low paid, wearing a suit, being harangued etc), except now they have cell phones.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

Lunchbox - Oh, I know... I was thinking the same thing as I was writing (except the uniform->suit thing is a change for the better). At least they don't have to suffer in silence any more - with cellphones, they can bitch about the office tyrant as much as they want, maybe even post embarrassing pictures of them, send anonymous harrassment mails- oh.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

They would be forced to talk to other human beings, to communicate!! It would be unthinkable, the chaos, apocalypse, the end of the world!

5 ( +6 / -1 )

"There will be a load of bored people out there!" probably not. I think they would probably find lives. maybe even lovers, possibly even have children.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

@Maria let me ask you why on survey after survey places like Tokyo and Osaka are voted the saddest/unhappiest prefecture in Japan year after year (with the fastest shrinking birthrates), and the inaka places like Fukui are voted the happiest year after year (with lower shrinking birthrates)? Money/suits/big cities/multimillion dollar deals never equaled happiness. Having a fulfilling life does. Having a fulfilling life is different for everyone, but I think most people would agree standing around for 10% (or more) of your ENTIRE life playing a cell phone game is not fulling.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

The 2 girls in suits... these are the so-called "recruit suits" that most Japanese university students wear when they are job hunting. They look the same, talk the same. Hard to distinguish.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

They are all checking the shortest route to their office or checking where they are...

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

They are sooooo important.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

I love how people complain about cell phones and other technology as if it's a bad thing. True, too much of anything can be a bad thing. But what's wrong with advances in technology and using them for business and/or fun? Maybe we should stop developing new technology and go back to land lines only? That would be very productive correct?

5 ( +7 / -2 )

I ditched my phone 2 years ago - haven't missed it once

0 ( +5 / -5 )

The market almost broke 9,000! Time for a new cell phone to celebrate!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

At least they're standing still with their faces in their phones. It's the moving ones that cause the problems, not least when I'm navigating my way through crowded train stations first thing in the morning. Unfortunately, they're probably all posting their lunch or lunch plans on Facebook - '久しぶりにラーメン食べようとat Mizuho Securities'

5 ( +6 / -1 )

The cell phone is a great technology when it comes to grocery shopping.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Ahh! There they are... These selfish people (I now call them Mongs) always get in my way when walking around outside or in the stations. The walk way too slow and pay no attention to their surroundings.. Pisses me off every single day.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

If they are standing still, so what.

I can not stand those who are walking / bicycling / driving and texting / reading / playing a game.

Pay attention to the world or it is going to run into you!!!

7 ( +8 / -1 )

I sometimes feel that these pictures and stories become breadcrumbs for hungry birds to peck at. We really don't know what these people are doing... it could be something deep and fulfulling, and it could speak well for Japanese women and society as a whole. Or not. Peck, peck, peck. Just saying....

2 ( +3 / -1 )

What would they do without their cell phones?

Go back to 1985

5 ( +5 / -0 )

THE FUTURE!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I had a blazing example the other day: a women in her 20's was waiting on the other side of a crossing (red), completely captivated by her sumaho. Then a sound looking like the green light one rang (probably from a gps), and she only reacted to that and started walking on the road while it was still red, among the cars, without even checking visually what was happening, still glued to her phone. Luckily for her, the dirvers were a bit more aware of their sourroundings and stopped in time.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Well, it's better than staring into space.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

What would they do without their mobile phones? Probably go through some serious post-mobile phone withdrawal syndrome......until the next big gadget comes along.

Mind you, I you to scoff at all the yuppies who used them in the 90s when they were still the size of a brick but they are pretty darn handy things to have these days, gotta say. Like others have mentioned, the only time it bothers me is when you are trying to get around those snail-pace commuters who are lost in their own private mobile phone land without a thought to anyone around them. Totally oblivious. Unfortunately, that's the way the world is these days and not just Japan.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Sorry, that should have read, "Mind you, I used to scoff..."

0 ( +0 / -0 )

They will bring their laptops.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

Be friendlier in public? There was a time when you could actually talk to a strange woman in public!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

All of them are typing a mail to one of their female friends asking "Why don't I have a boyfriend?"

1 ( +2 / -1 )

What would they do without their cell phones?

Look where they're going when walking/riding a bicycle/driving a car?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Discomfort. I must agree with you. I came out here in 97. Cell phones were around but not that many people had them yet and they were used mostly just for phone calls. People were absolutely friendlier and more willing to talk in public places back then. Now people just look down at their cell.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Maria

I know our local hosts can be accused of living in a bubble all of their own, but if these high powered professionals are checking the stock market on their phones with a huge stock market ticker and information board in the window behind them then they are definitely not the switched on women you would like to think that they are.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Wakarimasen - I'm afraid you have deliberately missed my point.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

1991, back when none of these girls could afford mobile phones, the Nikkei 225 at the back was pushing 30,000 and no Uni grad had to apply for more than 5 firms to get a job.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Nice click, JT!

the one at the back, though, doesn't even seem to be interested in hers. She seems to be looking at it just because everyone else is

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Here are young women in their own suits, making a decent living.

Haha! Nope. They are uni students looking for work. Chances are mom and dad, sorry dad, is paying for that phone. They're also probably skipping a class to head to an interview or some other event.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

People on this site always go on about the Japanese and cell phones as if it's a phenomenon unique to Japanese people. Try opening your eyes in any other major city, you will see people doing the same thing.

4 ( +5 / -0 )

They would be just fine !

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I see this all the time in the UK too. My bus to and from work is like a branch of PC World... practically everyone under 60 is surfing, texting, You Tubing or playing a game of some description. Those that aren't are listening to MP3 players.

Even in my office, we have 5 people... me included, three of us always grab our mobiles during breaks to chat, surf, whatever. Doesn't just happen in Japan. I love my smartphone and would be lost without it.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Japanese is not famous in Japan. So basically they weren't playing angry birds. Instead they're FBing.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

If they weren't doing this, they'd be doing something else.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Use. A phone book and read magazines, and news papers.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Mobiles are indeed used all over the world but I think Japan takes the cake for having people so obsessed with their phones that they walk into people, walk into busy streets and ignore dangerous situation around them. As I went to work today some moron biked past me listening to headphones and texting. Nearly hit me and after I moved I sorted of regretted it as I rather wish I had knocked her off her bike - might have taught her a lesson. Though I doubt it. In her mind it would have been my fault for being in her way.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

These are the types of behavior on the trains that lead to chikan paradise!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Use the phonebooth?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Oh please men do this just as much and to everyone saying put the cellphones down and communicate what do you think they are doing? some are playing games perhaps but many of us actually use text messages,Line, Skype, Facebook, Twitter whatever to communicate with each other. Sure does make time fly by fast as well if you are waiting for someone.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"mysteriousneo" writes above: "They live in a their own virtual world. I know all Japanese reading this comment will dislike it."

I doubt if they will "dislike" the comment because they no longer have any feelings. As said over and over again ... they are zombies ... keitai zombies. They are devoid of all feelings. Tokyo, in particular, is like a city of the walking dead.

As for me ... never owned a keitai. Don't even know how to use one. And I believe I still have some of my feelings left ...

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

"mysteriousneo" writes above: "They live in a their own virtual world. I know all Japanese reading this comment will dislike it."

I doubt if they will "dislike" the comment because they no longer have any feelings. As said over and over again ... they are zombies ... keitai zombies. They are devoid of all feelings. Tokyo, in particular, is like a city of the walking dead.

As for me ... never owned a keitai. Don't even know how to use one. And I believe I still have some of my feelings left ...

Maybe you have been in japan for to long. There would be absolutely no difference between this photo and another photo from any other first world city / country. Secondly, congratulations on being another pessimistic JT posters :) hooray! /sarcasm end.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

They are short on style but gone totally long on focus. When everyone is long, that is never a good thing.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Telephone Autism.

I bet we've all suffered to some degree this sickness at some point or other.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Oh please men do this just as much...

Has anyone said they don't??

0 ( +0 / -0 )

All those smartphones, I'd hazard a guess they are all checking their blog or playing pigg-life on Ameba (seems very popular in Japan!)

My wife and her friends probably spend a good 3-4 hours each day on either Ameba or Mixi. It wasn't too bad when it was just on laptop. But now she's spend an extra hour doing the same thing on her phone in bed.

I'm actually amazed to see how obsessed and addicted many Japanese women are to blogging, and especially between these 2 websites alone.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Once I lost my phone and decided not to replace it.

It felt liberating on so many levels!

Those who were used to contacting me at will found my newfound tele-liberation irritating. Pressure mounted for me to replace the phone -- I eventually caved in and did so. =

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I am 38, never owned a cellphone in my life. I swear. People call me crazy but when I see them checking their phone while we are eating or drinking, I think THEY are the one who are crazy, I am just fine. Am I the only who find it rude to check cellphone every 10 seconds when you are with friends? It is like checking the watch...it is like wanting to leave, feel annoyed...

Sometimes when I look at them in the subway checking their phones/smartphones I feel like I am in the movie "Invasion of the Body Snatchers". They did not catch me yet...

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Anyone other than me notice that no one on the trains reads manga anymore?

Remember the long-ago days when much-thumbed manga and newspapers were stuffed into all the overhead racks and attendants would run through the cars grabbing and cramming them into garbage bags before the train was put back into service?

THAT'S what the difference is... and it's a sight better now that you can thumb a note to a friend, play a game, read an ebook, or check the latest news. It means a whole lot fewer chopped-down forests, and perhaps a somewhat less-addled populace. I sure know it makes MY commutes a lot more pleasant!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Mobiles are indeed used all over the world but I think Japan takes the cake for having people so obsessed with their phones that they walk into people

Yes, and I think that "Japan influence" has affected all of my fellow expats at work who have smartphones and are constantly scrolling their screens looking at football scores, NBA scores, stock reports, etc. during every little break they have. It sometimes gets to the point where it makes them look so pretentious as if moving their fingers effortlessly over the newest piece of technology makes them look so cool. Just the other day, a Canadian co-worker and a fellow American was talking with each other animatedly for nearly the entire lunch break about the "killer apps" that they recently downloaded for their iPhones. Maybe it's just me, but I just don't see how someone can get so worked up over a smartphone.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Maria: If anyone on here accuses just these women, or women in general, of doing what these people are doing in the photo, I'd be surprised. As you said, you could probably catch any of us doing the same thing (certainly me!). I think it's meant more to be a statement on modern society as a whole (and not just limited to Japan).

Robert Dykes: "Having a fulfilling life does. Having a fulfilling life is different for everyone, but I think most people would agree standing around for 10% (or more) of your ENTIRE life playing a cell phone game is not fulling."

It's not just Japan, and hence the major networking games are world-wide and engaged in by MANY, and some, sadly, for years. I don't think we can blame cell phones for this either -- at least not much and not really those before smartphones so much. I mean, if I'm on a ten minute break I'll crack out my phone and either call or send a message off to my better half. Who's to say what these women are doing? They might be JUST finished work and are checking what could be critical messages while en route to their trains -- therefore multi-tasking (and yes, I know there are those who are not careful while walking). Point is, it's up to them. What's more, a lot of people these days have ONLY a cell phone and no land-line (at least many that I know) because they are often not home, or don't want the expense of both since they can also phone out from computer. If I therefore lost my cell it would not be an issue of boredom, it would be an issue of losing a lot more.

Anyway, where I DO agree that you see a lot of people using them more here than perhaps elsewhere is on trains (save SKorea); it's odd at first to hear the dead silence (for the most part) and see everyone typing away on or watching their screens. And of course, I think it's crazy when I see kids and adults riding on their bicycles while emailing -- crazy, and dangerous.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Or they could be making millions in futures contracts...

Highly unlikely. No pro uses a phone to trade from.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

They'd probably be reading a book or a magazine. The Japanese used to be the most voracious readers of said items in the world. I'm not sure if they still are or not but I can remember a day when everybody was reading something other than a cell phone on trains.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I would complain about people living their lives through a small screen, being addicted to social media, and contributing to the downfall of human society, if I wasn't doing the same thing myself.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Direction communication is shy or a boring subject in japan, cell phone provides a good excuse to avoid any person around you, if you want to pass by an standing person in your way with say hey then you can start playing with you cell phone. so in the next few years you will see that these three girls will be messaging to each other through cell phones while standing at the same place.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I'm usually checking email or calling a client or looking up parts on the web. I guess I'm just dull and boring.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

They'll start having more intimate activity with opposite gender and produce more children.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I'm actually amazed to see how obsessed and addicted many Japanese women are to blogging, and especially between these 2 websites alone.

Change women to men and blogs to games... This isn't a gender thing.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It's not just Japan. It's the same in the states. Nowa days I hardly behind a car that isn't slowly swerving in their lane because they are on those phones!!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

What would they do without their cell phones?

Surely not the same as what we would do without our cellphones

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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