Linked by David Adams on Thu 24th Jun 2010 18:30 UTC, submitted by neticspace
Internet & Networking Internet users throughout the world, and particularly in the United States, have long been chastened to hear of South Korea's legendary broadband penetration. The urbanized, technologically-advanced nation has been famous for rolling out ultra high speed network for the majority of its citizens, and many of us have looked on with envy. However, it turns out it's not all good news. An OSNews reader gives us the skinny from the trenches in Korea.
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Japan has similar issues
by TheGZeus on Thu 24th Jun 2010 19:54 UTC
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Virtually no businesses accept foreign credit cards, online or off. Amazon does, but that's either an American company or a multinational, I forget which. That said, you cannot use your account on, and have to sign up in Japanese, last I checked. They have an 'English' button on the site, which kinda-almost-sort-of works... sometimes.
But I digress.
Do they rely on ActiveX? No, they rely on Java Applets, HTML2/3 with lots of frames, blinking text, tiled background images, reliance on obscure MS-only fonts (often only available in Japanese editions of XP and earlier, it seems). Nothing is UTF-8, usually SHIFT-JIS, sometimes EUC-JP. That's a crap-shoot, as it's hardly ever declared in the code.

Their #2 music download service (#1 is iTunes) gives you two choices of low-bitrate file formats: WMA and ATRAC(you can play those on most phones in Japan, I hear), and they're DRMed, despite those DRM servers always under threat of shutdown.

If you find a site that's not amazingly simplistic and boring, it's insanely busy and in-navigable, with an 80% chance of either being 50% flash (a fairly new site, then) or about 50% Java applets. Yes, multiple applets. Written for Java2 or something. Usually depend on bugs in the early implementations.

If you can find your way through the site to fill your cart, and you can read enough Japanese to fill out the form then you have to hope it will accept a name that has no kanji in it. If it does, there's a good chance it's only set up to accept cards issued by a few Japanese banks. If you get past _that_, there's little chance they'll ship outside Japan.

I spent around $300usd at a single certain store (Diamond Moon, owned and dedicated to Eikichi Yazawa. The reigning King of Rock, I will not waver on that, nor lose to anyone in the USA in being a fan. I'm the only citizen with a tattoo related to him(on purpose)), largely because I can't buy jack-shit from the web store. I couldn't join the fan club, because that required a Japanese address. Luckily the afore-mentioned tattoo and my ability sing all his hits proved to other fans that I'm for real, so people with a better financial standing insisted on sending me/setting me up with _free stuff_(including a ¥54,000 DVD box set, and a chance to meet him next time I'm in Japan... so now I'm not going to be getting any guitars this year, but taking a week-long trip to visit some friends I made and meet him).

I've gone off-topic quite a bit here, but I'd have had a much less financially straining trip this time around were Japanese websites at all set up to accept foreign cards/customers.

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