This article detailing how japanese teens are using cell phones socially is only one of many that make me think Japan might be in some kind of timewarp that keeps them 2-10 years in the future.
Teens use mobile phones to bring in the presence of other friends who were not able to make it to the physical gathering, or of accessing information that is relevant to that particular time and place. The boundaries of a particular physical gathering, or flesh meet, are becoming extended through the use of mobile technologies, before, during, and after the actual encounter.
Flexible meeting times:
Now teens and twenty-somethings generally do not set a fixed time and place for a meeting. Rather, they initially agree on a general time and place (Shibuya, Saturday late afternoon), and exchange approximately 5 to 15 messages that progressively narrow in on a precise time and place, two or more points eventually converging in a coordinated dance through the urban jungle. As the meeting time nears, contact via messaging and voice becomes more concentrated, eventually culminating in face-to-face contact.
We are barely starting to get decent pricing on messaging, camera phones have been appearing only for a few months while during that time they have completely absorbed these functionnalities in their daily life. In terms of cell phones scandinavia and most of europe is also ahead of us but japanese are ahead in gadgets, laptops, digital cameras and many fashion trends.
(via the shifted librarian)
There is a lot of talk about the fact that the world is becoming one big Americanized monoculture but although the US might be the big screen on which we see that “culture”, making us think it comes from them they are actually only the biggest market for trends coming from all over the world, based on technologies, habits, tastes and actual cultures from everywhere.
Recent blockbusters for example are influenced by Hong-Kong movies and use canadian/new zealand and australian locations. They are branded with Holywood studios but are they American movies?
The Lord of The Rings for example. Tolkien was born in South Africa and lived in England. Peter Jackson is a Kiwi, filmed the movies in New Zealand and based his production and fx companies there. Half the cast is from commonwealth countries. Yet I’m sure when it finds success in european countries local film industries are disapointed that american movies are drawing more people then local ones.
Doesnt make the fact that distinctions between countries and their culture are getting thinner any more acceptable but it should be viewed as a global culture with many inputs, not as everyone bowing to US Imperialism. Yeah, I know, corporate America is getting the lion’s share of the money, little guys are being crushed, bled dry of their ideas, etc. I agree. I’m just saying the actual space we live in, regardless of who sold the actual stuff is being influenced and created by people from around the world.
Euhhh ok, got sidetracked here, I was just gonna make the point that japanese teens are living in the future. Oups.