A Phone with Hello! Kitty Chains

Finally. My husband, a.k.a. the only human being over 12 in Tokyo without a cell phone, came to his senses. He's shopping for a keitai. He always claimed that despite his profession (a journalist) which one would think requires being well-connected in many different ways, he never needed one. There are such things as pay phones -- and he can always check massages on his answering service from outside.

And I've long suffered from it. These days when meeting a friend, we say, "I'll be there probably in an hour-I'll call you when I get there" and if you are getting late, you call your friend and say "Go ahead and start ordering, I'll see you in a minute." This is civilization. I don't know how many times I said to my husband: "Let's meet at the movie theater; why don't I call you when I finish what I'm doing now? Oops, you don't have a cell phone!"

In the end what convinced him was my pink cell phone decorated with Hello! Kitty chains. One morning - it was a Japanese national holiday - he was in a tennis tournament, but had a telephone interview appointment with a source overseas. He would have to call between matches, and he wasn't sure if he could make a long distance call from the pay phone at the court. I said he could borrow my phone. He suspiciously looked at it. My husband, a science and technology journalist based in Tokyo, had never used a cell phone before; he looked scared. The night before the tournament, as I explained how to initiate, terminate and hold a call, he took detailed notes.

After the matches (he won a couple of them), he came home - and told me that he was going to buy himself a phone. "See, once you use it you can't live without it," I said. No, that wasn't it, he said. He was extremely embarrassed to get caught speaking on a pink cell phone decorated with Hello! Kitty chains. I knew it: Hello! Kitty works a magic.

Actually it was two weeks ago, and he's gone through several catalogues and pamphlets and remains undecided. So many styles, different functions. This is a familiar problem; I've written about it. This morning I asked him where he was on the cell phone shopping mission. "Getting there," he said. "But I want to make sure that I can receive e-mails.... connect a cell phone to my computer...." Like I said, he's never used a cell phone.

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