I am in Japan for the first time for a few years, which is good. However, my Blackberry isn’t working – which is bad. The only other place my BlackBerry refused to send me my drip-feed of diversionary e-mails this year was Afghanistan. But, actually, Japan is even more of a communications blackhole. At least my mobile phone worked in Kabul. No such luck here in Tokyo.
I was warned by the FT office here that this might happen. But I didn’t really believe them. How could a BlackBerry not work in a country that I still think of as at the most technologically-advanced in the world?But, apparently, that’s the problem. In Afghanistan, BlackBerries don’t work because the place is so backward. In Japan, they don’t work because the place is so advanced. The whole country has switched over to 3G networks, so if you turn up with your pitifully-backward western devices they just sit there, looking at you uselessly – refusing to ring, bleep or flash little red lights at you.