Re: [76attendees] ATM and GSM

Rodney Van Meter <rdv@sfc.wide.ad.jp> Mon, 02 November 2009 22:06 UTC

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From: Rodney Van Meter <rdv@sfc.wide.ad.jp>
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Subject: Re: [76attendees] ATM and GSM
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As a point of reference, American credit cards still do NOT work in  
many locations in Japan, even at some places with Visa and MasterCard  
logos (I am told that the U.S. banks update their security features at  
higher than the Nyquist frequency, and the Japanese banks don't keep  
up.)  There are a few places where they DO work: notably, the ATMs in  
Japanese Post Offices.

Most restaurants and other businesses in Japan still operate on a yen  
cash basis.  (Unlike some other places, you will find ZERO businesses  
that will actually take dollars for goods or services.)

At Narita Airport, you can change U.S. dollars for yen at booths  
outside customs.  The rate there is generally as good as you will find  
anywhere.  It is better for traveler's checks than cash, and MUCH  
better than the rates at U.S. airports, which are often usurious.  I  
believe the rate for euros is less favorable than dollars.

As to cell phones, as others have said, Japan is 3G W-CDMA only, no  
GSM, no CDMA-2000.  Moreover, the frequency band here is 2100 MHz,  
different from some places, so you may want to check your phone's  
manual.
http://gsmworld.com/roaming/gsminfo/cou_jp.shtml

Some info is available at http://www.ietf76.jp/general/ (thanks to  
Ole, I believe, for putting that together).

		--Rod