If you do, don’t. After a 5 day trip to Japan in June, I got a $550 dollar phone bill. That was after I turned off the roaming portion. Having learned my lesson, I called AT&T before we arrived and had all 3 Iphones switched to international plans and data packages. I told offspring #1 and #2 that all text messages would cost 50 Cents each so after a certain amount the bill would not be covered. I held my breath when the plane landed and frantically checked all phones to make sure all the settings were correct not wanting a repeat performance from the previous month.
My objectives for Day 1 in Japan were aggressive: Find food, find a cash machine, and get new cell phones. It took until noon to get numbers 1 and 2 completed. My appointment with Soft bank was set for 3:00. I needed that phone. Let me review the importance of the phone:
1) Iphone software:
Glympse: Location software. Sends your exact location to the person of your choosing. In my case, allows me to locate a lost spouse and direct them home.
Tokyo Metro map: Subway maps and routes
Translation: What can I say? or can’t say in this case. I type in what I’d like to say and it converts to Japanese. The only language it doesn’t convert is Cajun.
Japanese by Coolgorilla: This helps me actually say the phrases correctly- and if I can’t I point it at the person and hit “play.”
Tokyo Maps: I can actually zoom in on the map so I can see it. I can’t see the paper maps anymore so they are useless to me.
Camera: I’ve taken pictures of my passport (in case I lose it) and the card with my address in Japanese- less paper and helps me in the cabs.
2)Of course the obvious- one can call immediate family. Texting, emailing, all the modern day conveniences that allow us to avoid mishaps.
There was one problem. A very large problem. In Japan- maybe other countries- one can not get a phone until obtaining an alien registration card. One can not get an alien registration card until securing a Visa. Did I have either of these? No. When were these expected? 3 weeks.
Old school is not easy. Especially cold turkey on short notice. Hard copy maps. Hand written notes to eachother. Planning sessions at the beginning of the day with no room for deviations. Paper schedules. Paper books with translations and an English/Japanese Dictionary. A giant purse to carry all of this paraphernalia.
We got our alien registration cards- we dash to buy our new phones- 6-8 week wait for the Iphone………..