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It's August! Summer! Yay! (Huh?)

Seems like it's been becoming more like summer around here. The maximum air temperature in my town, 32 C (89.6 F), was reportedly the highest in Hokkaido yesterday. But, it's cold again today -- less than 20 C (68 F). Hey, Summer! Blah blah blah... .

Well, the phone talk. According to a recent survey conducted by the Cabinet Office, 76.9 percent of those questioned, aged between 12 and 30 in Japan, said they use cell phones habitually. And besides, 23.1 percent of them use their phones more than 10 times a day for sending and receiving e-mail. Sure, many of my students seem to have ones.

Communication by e-mail through cell phones is widespread especially among teenagers. This phenomenon has produced a new term "oyayubizoku" (the thumb tribe). They use their thumbs very dexterously at lightning speed to input text messages on their tiny phone keypads. I wonder how they can do such a "trick." It's just amazing. It could be fun to hold a "Speed Thumbing Contest" or the like. Or are there any already?


It's certainly hot here in nothern Illinois. We've entered the "dog days". So tonight I'm sitting here in front of a fan in my study in dim light, sipping a Boddingtons Pub Ale. Tonight's forecast low, though, is 68 degrees. In honor of the heat on both sides of the world, I present to you a haiku written on a *very* hot dusty road when lost in the middle of rural Illinois a few weeks ago....

what heat!
all the road signs


I am kind of cell-phone addicted. I don't use it much for talking with someone, but for sending e-mail. I can't live without it :-(
These days not only students but also adults, especially homemakers, are used to sending e-mail. It is more convenient to contact each other than using PC mailing system, because it has almost no time delays. Yesterday I got 14 mails, which include two from one of my neighbors.

Well, I wouldn't win any oyayubizoku contests, but I do use the email/text message function of my keitai a lot, in large part because it's so much cheaper. In fact, I would estimate that I send about 20 - 25 emails per each time I make a phone call. Like I said, it's just cheaper, and so why spend 40 yen or so to call my wife and say "I'm on my way home" when I can email her the same message for 1 yen. (And because I've pre-programmed in all my standard messages already, like "kaeri" or "ima Oomiya eki ni imasu", it takes about the same time as a call).

I don't know how reliable this information is but...I read somewhere (can't remember where) that, because of text messaging and video games, the thumbs of young people are starting to evolve into something like a fifth finger because they're using them so much. Ridiculous?

I'm the only person I know in England who has email on their phone (although there must be more). So it's a feature I don't really need, especially because it uses a unique email address, and I already have more than ten. What I really want is a blackberry, because I can use all my email accounts from there. Don't know if it's compatible with the phone networks though :(

As to this evolutionary thumb thing, my only worry would be that it might cause RSI ...

Thanks for a wonderful haiku, MNW! The scene popped into my head. :)

What makes me reluctant to use my cell phone most may be keypadding. If I happen to get used to it, things might change.

Jennifer, I don't think it's ridiculous at all. I have no idea what it would be like, but there must be some effects.

Dan, sorry for my ignorance, but what's the "blackberry" thing?

Sorry kiyo. For some reason my link didn't work first time: http://www.blackberry.net/products/blackberry/key_features.shtml

Gee,... you all have cell phones? I feel like a neophyte. My brother-in-law has a blackberry because he travels so much for his employer. When I examined it, I had to control my drooling. I do have a tiny round blue stuffed bear I call Bluebeary! Ah, well.... Does anyone know what's the percentage of cell phone users in our respective populations?

Re the haiku, you're quite welcome, Kiyo.


Thanks dan. I got it. :)