Yawn... should be in bed, but got carried away tinkering on my new phone. These new fangled devices have many bells and whistles these days. I chose a phone which costs 1 yen on a two year plan and 3 months of compusory sign up to extra services at 1500yen/month (which I'll cancel as soon as I can). It's a P903i signed up with NTT DoCoMo. It has a GPS (yes, that's right!), you can swipe your phone to purchase items at shops or train stations etc, it has a barcode reader, text reader, email, web, and all the usual guff (camera, video, music, calender, txt, phone). Some phones had your regular TV (free-to-air) but I wasn't bothered with paying extra money for that. My new Japanese mobile phone number is here: bradwarden.com/contact
The Japanese phone system here is quite different... but one thing remains the same... complicated! There's the three companies (NTT DoCoMo, AU KDDI, Softbank Vodafone). Docomo = Telstra (big, semi-government style operation). AU = Optus. SMS is "old hat" (not really used that much here). Almost everyone uses mobile email addresses (which emails to and from normal email addresses... very well integrated). i-mode is used for this email service. Costs are charged per data packet (per kilobyte). In my opinion, I think mobile costs here are still quite expensive, which was different to my expectations. But, one thing that did meet my expectation, was the "advanced-ness" of the mobile networks here.
And, the 100 or so pics from our bike trip are uploaded (thanks to fast internet here): http://picasaweb.google.com.au/bradwarden/JapanHamadaBikeRide