Walking through my local park today, I came across a man who appeared to be living in a tent. Now it may just be that he had simply purchased this particular item and wanted to give it a quick test run, but the way he had things set up made it look as though he was in it for the long haul. Even given today’s clement weather conditions, he is a brave man indeed if he plans to spend a Japanese winter’s evening holed up in a thin layer of polyester; although in fairness, it probably offers more protection against the elements than the four ‘walls’ of my apartment.
There are many things that are tedious and wrong with Japanese bureaucracy, but mobile phone contracts, specifically the process of cancelling them, are certainly not one of them. This evening I went into the Shibuya branch of SoftBank (my phone provider), certain that I would need to give them at least one month’s notice and pay though the nose for bringing my two year contract to a premature end. As it turns out I need to give absolutely no notice what so ever, and can simply turn up on the morning that I plan to leave Japan and ask them to cancel my contract. Even more amazingly it’s only going to cost me around ¥10000 (~£80) to buy out the renaming 7 months of said contract! Further proof, if any were needed, that the UK phone market enjoys nothing more than holding its customers to ransom.