Chinese Whispers about Japan

This interesting little factoid, dear listeners, is an extreme–but common–exaggeration. It showed up on digg.com this morning.

15 million Japanese No Longer Use Paper Money EVER

Today, however, for 15 million Japanese, paper money is a thing of the past, according to the Japan Research Institute. No longer solely used for online purchases, e-money, accessed via a smart card or mobile phone, has become a way of life for many consumers in Japan.

read more | digg story

Rich Pav

Richard has been living in Japan since 1990 with his wife and two teenage sons, Tony and Andy.

13 thoughts to “Chinese Whispers about Japan”

  1. So what happens when you lose your mobile phone? How difficult would it be for someone to walk around and use your phone to pay for things? Since there is no signature involved does anyone ask to at least see some kind of identification? With the credit / debit card system we at least have to enter a PIN number, sign something or provide proof of identity.

  2. As far as I know, it’s the same as losing your wallet. Only difference I can see between keeping your money in your wallet or a card or phone based debit account is that in the latter case it’s really in the account of some big company earning interest for them.

  3. oops! Sorry Rich, I don’t know why I thought you were a conversational English teacher. Its probably because that’s what i want to do and its just stuck in my head.

  4. regarding some earlier podcasts about sleep apnea, my dad also suffers from the same thing. we were getting worried about him because he makes long driveing commutes, and might easily fall alseep on the road. he went to one of those sleep testing things, and now he has a mask that he wears at night. he gets good night sleeps now and has no problems. I hope you will be doing fine soon too!

    1. Yeah, good luck and keep us posted. Curious to see if its clinically confirmed as apnea. Perhaps you already got diagnosed – if not I suspect it may simply be accumulated sleep deprivation. Commute 2 hours each way, get home to play with and coax your boys to bed, eat dinner, download videos to Ipod, update blog, reply to listener email, do a little Playstation and websurfing, and by the time you think about sleeping its already 1:00am. My friend just had the throat surgery done in the US. He sleeps like a rock now and said for the first time he is experiencing long and vivid dreams.

  5. right on about the exaggerated headlines on digg — its the same effect that happens on slashdot and any other user submitted content. people either exaggerate to get publicity (or in this case diggs) or just plain misinformed.

    thing is, japan is in fact the most cash driven modern society i’ve been to. i couldn’t use my credit card in most places except for hotels and department stores. even some hotels didn’t like certain credit cards. for example, shinagawa prince hotel refused my mastercard for deposit. the poor girl behind the counter was terribly apologetic when she tried three times and the machine didn’t accept it. i eventually pointed out to her the differences and gave her another card pointing out the difference between visa and mastercard and she acted really surprised and had never really discovered differences between these plastic cards. (or maybe she was just really polite and didn’t want to say that she talk down at a foreigner.)

    also while i was in tokyo, i even had trouble getting cash out of most ATMs. only citibank ATMs could get cash out of my maestro card. luckily most japanese knew what you meant when you asked for citibank and they’re around most major stations i visited.

    btw, suica cards (and all the other rfid cards in japan) are just the same as the octopus system in hong kong that was introduced nearly 5-6 years ago. even residential buildings have these octopus card readers so you dont have to have a wallet full of rfid card readers for every building you have access to. you use them to pay for nearly any form of transport (including buses, trams, trains, ferry) and even buying cheap items from stores.

    its weird how all these rfid systems are associated with sea animals. for example, london underground uses oyster, hong kong uses octopus and japan jr has that suica penguin.

    i probably should stop going off on tangents now and make my own podcast 😛

  6. Just one comment on the cast. Don’t associate North America and the USA as being the same. There are about 30 million people in North America (Canada) who are pretty happy with our health care system.

    Otherwise a spot on commentary.

    1. “pretty happy with our health care system” – you mean happy until the cash runs out in October and everyone has to wait for the next year before there’s more money, right?

  7. There was some thing about “…robots monitoring security…” it makes it sound like they are monitoring the security gaurds… lol.

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