I don't know if anyone cares about this or not, but here are more pictures of places we've been looking at. So far none has tickled our fancy like the first one (technically second) that we saw however. I have to say I'm getting tired of the shoddy construction (RV feel).
3 more schedule for tomorrow, and we'll try to get 3 more for Friday. We are thinking if we don't find any serious competition by then, we'll go with the first one.
So, on to the iPhone nightmare. In Germany a few months back, before I had any guarantee of finding a job anytime soon, I bought an iPhone 4s unlocked from Apple and had it shipped to Germany. I didn't think I'd have any trouble using it in Japan, so even though I said a couple of times I probably should wait til I got to Japan, I figured...how could it not work? It's a world phone, truly unlocked, no problem, right? Right... So in Germany, I took my iPhone to the local cell store to get a SIM so I could at least turn the darn thing on. They suggested I take the SIM from my existing phone and convert it to micro SIM. She even pulled out a device designed for the job (looks like a stapler) and with one click, my SIM was now a microSIM and once inserted it started working fine. Even used it a few times to make calls. No data or anything...that was going to wait for Japan!
There are only 2 companies in Japan that supply iPhones, much like AT&T had the monopoly in the US originally. AU and Softbank. Softbank is on the base, so I went there first and explained my situation. They said simply that they could not provide me with a SIM and data plan. At all. Unless of course I wanted to by an iPhone from them locked to them (permanently). Event though they acknowledge (grudgingly) that the SIM should *work* just fine in my phone, they won't give me one. Wow. So I went in town and asked at AU...they said the same thing.
The problem is...I don't believe them!!!! There has to be a way to make this work, so I'm not giving up just yet. I've asked around and so far found no one who has been able to make this work, but I have some hope. My first shot today was to buy a cheap phone/SIM from SoftBank. I tried cutting the SIM myself, but botched it, so I'm going to buy another one tomorrow and be more careful. At least I would have a cell phone number. Second, we might try to make our way to Akihabara in Tokyo tomorrow. This is supposed to be an electronics/anime/manga mecca where one person told me I should be able to at least ask at about a thousand different shops to see if there is some way. This is so I can get a fully functional data plan.
At any rate, this is shaping up to be quite the nightmare and is reminiscent of my experience in Kuwait trying to get high speed Internet at our apartment. We eventually gave up on that fight after getting no where after months and months of trying. The blank stares in peoples eyes when I explain what I want to do is so frustrating. It's like...what, no one in the world has tried to bring an unlocked iPhone this country?! Anyway...
Oh, btw, the food is indeed awesome. We've had ramen (the real thing) once so far, and ate at a Hawaiian restaurant today for lunch. I want to eat at every restaurant I see...but time and money are limiting. Oh well, we'll get around to it.