Sunday, March 27, 2005

cell phone geekiness moment

As surprising as this may seem, it is not 2 AM and I am actually writing.

Yesterday, I sent several hours cruising through various web sites after reading an article on what's up with cell phones in Japan. The article came from Molly Wood who writes this time for the CNET AnchorDesk. The article was entitled Dispatch from the road: the future holds flip phones. Hopefully, the article is still available at this location. Google the title, if not.

Anyway, the story detailed (briefly) the kinds of things she saw while looking for trends in cell phones, at the center of the cell phone universe, Japan .

The biggest impression it left with me was the politeness of the cell users. She said she never heard a cell ring in a public place nor did she see people actually talking on cells where it would annoy people. You will read in the article that the folks in Japan apparently know what the "silent" mode is on their cells and, get this, they know how to use it!!!! OMG, that would be a revolutionary idea here in the U.S.

Also implied by the article was that it was kind of a status symbol to not be talking on your phone but rather be messaging. Completely 180 degrees from the U.S. market, where we must be talking in the most inappropriate locations in an effort to show how important we must be. It was at this point, I realized why so many people from other countries dislike us. We proclaim our higher than you status via rudeness. There's a study to be funded by a government grant!

Well back to the hours of surfin'. In this same article it talked about, and I quote,
Everyone--and I mean everyone, from the girliest schoolgirl to the grimmest businessman--attaches some sort of cute, dangling charm to the corner of his or her phone.

This is what got me going on a surfin' crusade. I needed to find out what the attraction was for everyone to have these little danglies hanging for their phones. In addition, I wanted to find out why I had not seen this here in the U.S.

Bottom-line: the reason everyone has them on their phone is because (this is of course from my perspective) in one fell swoop these danglies make the owner both an individual and part of a group. And they are just too darn cute. Everything from dragons made from beads to Feng Shui symbols; from Hello Kitty to Mickey Mouse; from train station lunch boxes to your favorite vegetable. Yes, pretty much anything you can think of has been resin reproduced, beaded or braided and is hanging from someone's cell phone lanyard hole. (You U.S. readers, yes, the little pass-thru hole in the side of your phone actually has a use!)

Now, one of the greatest locations for picking up this cuteness is It is of course located in Japan. There are some locations in the U.S. but none compare to the completeness of a fad as this site. Enjoy the hours of browsing through aisles and aisles of, what else can it be called but, cuteness!

Yes, we both brought items from Yes, we both went overboard. But you know what? With all the sameness of -

everyone having a cell phone,
everyone talking at this most inappropriate time,
everyone allowing their phone to ring where silence would be the better course,
everyone's ringtone blasting out the latest hip-hop, country, classical or oldies music,

wouldn't it be a wonderment to look over at this abnoxious American and see...

a Hello Kitty dangle hanging there?

Yes, it might even channel some of the anger to a sweet little awwwww. Just for a moment mind you. But even the biggest revolutions start with the smallest of moments.

So if you hear someone being annoying with their cell, be sure to check for the dangle and cut them some slack. They are trying to start a revolution, but aren't quite there yet!


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