Musings about Japan and life as a human, a cosplayer, a minority, a music lover, an English teacher.

Cell phone (Yay!) and Bic Camera: Seven Floors of Electronic Goodness.

Since Pokemon Platinum came out in Japan on Saturday, I thought I’d go buy it. I decided to go to Bic Camera (ビックカメラ) in Ikebukuro. That’s where I got my cell phone on Friday, and while looking at info on the store I found that they do more than just cell phones and cameras–they have seven floors of electronics and the like. And the store I went to isn’t even the main store in Ikebukuro. Nearby is another store with eight floors and a basement. Japan has this thing where they open a store, and then–as if they had forgotten where they put it–build another one nearby.

Bic Camera is like Micro Center and Sears thrown together, basically. I started with the top floor since the video games were there, and I wanted to get Pokemon Platinum. It turns out I got my copy for a very good price–4320 yen (about US $40). Retail price is 4800 yen and online stores have it for much more.

Their PSP-2000s come in colors!!! Very pretty colors, too–they’re pastel with a light glitter finish, very beautiful. I want a “Felicia Blue” PSP, but I think I’m going to wait. The PSP-3000 is coming out in October, but they only come in black, silver and white. Since I’m not really pressed about the PSP in general, I going to wait and see if their 2000 models get a price cut in anticipation for the 3000.

What I found besides Pokemon Platinum was a whole bunch of games and accessories. Here are a few pics of the top floor:

Strategy guides/video game-related books and magazines

DS Accessories

NDS and PSP consoles (and a Duty-Free sign…I wish I was exempt from taxes T_T though I wasn’t charged tax for Pokemon…not sure how that works)

Anime DVDs (By the way, bro, I checked for Gundam 00, I’m not sure there’s English available. They were super expensive too, Volume 2 was around 60 bucks. I came across a Gundam 0080 DVD that did have English, but I think it’s dubbed…)

Here’s the floor with toys:

Models and figurines, and…


The selection is amazing. They have tons of DS and PSP accessories, appliances like washing machines, refrigerators and toilet seats (you all know about the fancy electronic toilet seats, right?), MP3 players (iPod too! They’re getting the new models as well), electronic dictionaries, flat irons and hair dryers (thinking of buying one ^_^) and other things as well. There’s even a floor with a section devoted to clocks.

The salespeople are pumped up and excited as well, as they are in Japan (“Irrashaimaseeeee!!!” they say, which means “Come in!” or “Welcome!”). I’m wondering if I happened to walk in during a big sale or if they’re that pumped up everyday. Since Ikebukuro is a busy city I guess it’s normal.

On Friday I got my own Japanese cell phone, also from Bic Camera. In Japan there are three main services: NTT Docomo, AU, and SoftBank. Docomo is the most popular but the most expensive, AU is second in popularity but has a smaller selection of phones than SoftBank, which is third.

Like in the U.S., each service has their own selection of phones. Unlike the U.S., their selection, depending on the service, is HUGE. They have non-working samples of each phone that you can look at, and some phones have a ridiculous amount of features. Generally, Japanese cellphones are rectangular shaped and have larger screens than the cheaper models in the U.S. And of course, the quality is so much better.

Thanks to the Rikkyo volunteers, my choice was rather quick. A group of girls helped three of us (the exchange students) choose phones. We all got the same model, in different colors. The girl that helped me is actually Korean, and she speaks Japanese fluently, as if she were a native. No, I have not reached that level yet.

She told me about AU’s promotion where, after returning the phone, I get a 10000 yen cash back. Also, she recommended AU to me because their reception is better than SoftBank. You should have seen her making fun of SoftBank’s reception, it was hilarious.

Anyway, I ended up getting the cheapest model, the Toshiba W61T:

Sitting on the dock


The back, with a slot next to the battery for a MicroSD card, a 3.2 megapixel camera (it reads the Japanese QR codes!), an infrared port, and a flashlight. Yes, a flashlight.

It might look somewhat plain, but upon closing the phone a random light-up graphic followed by the time is displayed in the corner:

Cell phone strap in the photos not included by the way, I bought that at the 100 yen shop. It also doesn’t come with an English menu. After deciding on the phone, Heson (the Korean girl, that’s how her name is romanized from Japanese) told me there was no English and asked if it was okay. I thought about it for a moment, and then she said, “Oh you’re good at Japanese, it’ll be no problem for you!” Haha, and that’s why it took me an hour to figure out how to change the wallpaper…

Speaking of wallpaper, this is my current cell phone wallpaper, the cuteness that is Nao from the band alice nine.:

I’m pleased.


4 responses to “Cell phone (Yay!) and Bic Camera: Seven Floors of Electronic Goodness.

  1. Christine August 16, 2009 at 4:06 pm

    Hi ケリー,I can tell you that I really miss being able to use my Japanese cell phone already! Even though it still operates, obviously there's no service so I can't call or e-mail anyone with it. It makes a nice souvenir, at least.I think I'll write a blog post to answer some of the questions you might have. I'm really glad you like my blog, I wrote it because I knew someone would want to know some stuff about studying abroad 🙂 Thanks for reading!

  2. NikoNiko August 16, 2009 at 8:03 pm

    Good on ya, didn't want to bother you with these questions, but knowing about good mobile phone contracts and stuff would definitely be a big help.:)Niko

  3. See en September 14, 2010 at 9:07 pm

    Japan sounds fuuuuun! How do you get into an exchange program? Man, that electronics store would be heaven for me…

    • sooyong September 29, 2010 at 7:56 am

      My university has an exchange program which includes partnerships with several universities in Japan, and Rikkyo was one of them. I just applied and was accepted 🙂

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