Friday, 20 January 2012

Getting Internet In Japan

I took it for granted. Alone in my new apartment, there I was staring at the ceiling. You have no idea how boring it was not having internet!

I tried real hard trying to do without it. My plan was that I'd be able to concentrate on more important things rather than wasting time online. Sad to say, I AM the king of procrastination, and it looked like it was easier just to do nothing and be bored.

I thought checking the internet at known open wifi points would be enough. I waited patiently in three degree evenings for my FB and email to download. Most times I hadn't missed a thing, but the lack of it was akin to not having a mobile phone. You know just in case someone MIGHT call you, when in actual fact they hardly do.

It might sound strange but this is the first time in all these years of living here that I actually have my own internet connection. I was fortunate enough to have an open wifi in my first apartment, and after that my other half took care of the later net setup.

What also helped pushed to get a connection was that I somehow managed to kill one of my Mac laptops (on my birthday no less), and I had been thinking to upgrade the one I had been using since I got here. Combined with an internet connection you can save a LOT of money on a new computer.

So where do you start?

I thought that you needed a phone landline in order to get connected. Actually you don't! The cheapest option is the hikari fiber optic mansion (generally highrise apartment, not a rich person's house) connection.

There are 2 companies involved - the phone company (NTT Flets), and your chosen ISP provider (eg. Yahoo, OCN, AsahiNet). If you go to the big electronic stores BIC, Yodobashi or Sofmap you will find each have their perks for signing up with them, so it's worth going around to find the best deal. They can also do a building check to see if fiber's available.

I signed up on the 5th of January. Along with the discounted Mac, I got 3 months free internet. They coerced me into taking an optional wireless router and helpline support that I won't use, but they tell me I can cancel that without penalty in 2 or 3 months. First payment will just be the 2,100 (+840 yen admin) NTT connection charge.

They sent a LOT of papers but the setup was quite painless. I just had to go to Network settings on my Mac - create a PPPoE connection by adding the ISP service name, account name and password to get up and running.



SwordSainT said...

were you able to do that without a visa? im waiting for mine

Jimmy In Japan said...

Well you need ID (ARC card is fine) just like when you're getting a cell phone. How can you be in Japan without a visa?