Just to list a few...
- Unlike the pesky clocks back home, Japan has reached an era free from power outages and dying batteries. Keitai's are equipped to remember 5 separate alarm times, which can all be set to different rings and volumes. Most importantly, even when a keitai's battery dies, there is a storage of back-up power that comes into play to make sure the alarms still go off.
- In this day and age, when even digital cameras have a thousand options and settings, sometimes the convenience and simplicity of my keitai's "point and shoot" camera makes it my first choice. That, and you can take pictures of unsuspecting people without their even realizing, whereas trying to snap a picture of the comical Engrish written across someone's ass with your digi-cam tends to "stand out" a bit, even in Japan. (see below)
- What can I say, my keitai has tetris, and I couldn't be happier. 100 yen to download it and unlimited hours of entertainment when I was stuck on the train, in class, waiting for someone/something, etc. I imagine there are many other games to be downloaded, but why bother? Tetris is a thing of beauty. And, as I've recently found out, both the game and the music are Russian! And Katya can sing it!
- Ah, the internet. When you're standing in the train station trying to figure out how to get home, it is as simple as opening your keitai's web browser to the train look-up schedule, typing in your departure and arrival destinations, and then following the step by step directions you can get in either English or Japanese. Going traveling? No problem, weather look-up is just as simple - open the web browser, click on the link to weather (again in English or Japanese) and receive up to date forecasts.
- GPS, had I ever learned how to use it, would have come in very very handy whenever I found myself disoriented in Tokyo. Just like the GPS in a car's dashboard (which for the record, over half of the cars in Japan have and use on a daily basis), each keitai has the same GPS tracking device.
- Perhaps the biggest surprise and biggest advantage that I've been able to discover yet, is the easability of using my keitai as a kanji look-up tool. Sometimes, when I just can't remember the strokes of a character, or if I'm trying to write a kanji I haven't learned yet, I just type it into my keitai and the kanji pops up for me to copy. There are online dictionaries that can be accessed via the cell phone and kanji can be copy/pasted into the search bar. This of course doesn't replace the necessity for electronic dictionaries, but still really enhances the convenience and speed of kanji lookup in an exam situation, for example.
- The bar-code reader at first seemed like a useless feature to have in every keitai, but imagine the convenience of only holding your keitai up to corner of an add for a few seconds if you want to remember some information. No searching through your bags for a pen, no need trying to remember where you put those notes you jotted down the week before. Just a quick scan with the keitai, and the info page that is designed especially for Keitai, is saved in your browser's history. Voila, easy as pie.
- SD cards & Bluetooth (a wireless connection software) make it simple and free to transfer data (such as photos, address book entries and personal memos) to and from the keitai. You can also use Bluetooth to transfer info between 2 cell phones, which saves a lot of time and money when exchanging info.
- And the keitai is the ultimate accessory - an accessory with a complete selection of secondary accessories, such as protective cases, dangly straps and numerous decoratable surfaces. Being able to download ringtones is only the beginning. Every souvenir shop in Japan is saturated with a section devoted to cell phone straps, cases, and other varied accessories.
- If you forget it as you rush out the door late one morning, the result is a culmination of that feeling you get when you forget your watch in the morning, only it's worse because you are also cut off from the world - you never know what important emails might be waiting for you back home. And you are out of luck if you've forgotten it on the day when you see a Japanese woman parading by with natural odour printed across the rear of her high fashion skirt, just as a (ahem) random example.
Jose: Hey, I just came by to tell you my keitai's dead.
Cori: Dead? I noticed that I couldn't send you a msg all day, and I thought that was a bit odd.
Jose: Well I fucked it up. Since 3 or so, it hasn't worked.
Cori: What happened?
Jose: I went to the pool. When I got up today I saw how nice it was outside and called Nico and Javier to go swimming at Inage pool. When we got there, I was so excited to go swimming that I pulled off my shirt and jumped in. After swimming 2 laps around the pool, I got out and felt a familiar vibrating in my pocket.
Cori: Vibrating? Uh oh.
Jose: Yep. Forgot to take out my keitai, and when the battery gets wet - it vibrates.
Cori: Shit. So now what?
Jose: For tonight, no emails or phone calls, and then tomorrow I'm going to get a new phone.
Cori: I guess you'll try no to take the next one swimming?
Jose: No, it's okay, because they have one that's waterproof!