I and my Japanese family here in Japan all use NTT docomo cell phones. NTT docomo is the predominant mobile phone operator in Japan and a subsidiary of NTT, Japan’s incumbent telephone operator. I, my wife, her younger brother and her cousin all are part of a family plan together.
The bedsheet episode
A few years ago at home, I wanted to shake a bedsheet from my apartments’s third floor veranda. What I didn’t know was that… my cell phone was hidden in the sheet. I shook it from my veranda and to my horror, my cell phone fell down three floors into some shrubs below my apartment building! It must have hit something hard because the battery compartment got damaged and left the battery in plain view. However, amazingly, the cell phone still worked, but not perfectly. I put some tape over the battery to protect the phone and kept using the phone until I got a new one. My wife’s younger brother (shown in the photos with me) got a good laugh when we told him what had happened.
When my wife, her cousin and I eventually decided to get new cell phones together, my wife suggested that I get insurance for lost or damaged handsets that NTT docomo was offering for a small monthly fee of 315 Yen a month. I thought that that was a great idea and so we got the insurance for me only. It’s a good thing that we did because of what would happen next!
The vanished phone episode
In the entrance of our apartment, we have a kind of small bench to sit on, which I use when putting on or taking off my shoes. I sometimes leave my cell phone on it. Right next to it is a garbage can.
A few months ago, I came home at night. In the entrance, I read an email message I had received on my cell phone. In the email, the sender asked me to check my email on my computer account. I took off my shoes and entered my home quickly to go to my computer, putting my cell phone (still open) down on the bench. That was the last time I ever saw that cell phone.
Later on before going to bed, I took out our home’s garbage and put it next to the road, as the garbage pickup was going to be the next morning. Then I looked for my cell phone, but couldn’t find it, not in the entrance nor anywhere else in my home. I used my home phone to call my cell phone (I do this at times to find my cell phone in my home). I got through to my cell phone and it rang, but I didn’t hear it ring in my home. I concluded that I had left it on manner mode, so I couldn’t hear it ring wherever it was. As I was tired, I decided to keep looking for it the next day and went to bed.
The next day, I still couldn’t find it. My wife looked for it but couldn’t find it either. Using our home phone, my wife tried to call my cell phone but got no connection at all. That was when we started thinking that maybe it had fallen into the garbage can next to the bench in the entrance, and that I had thrown it out with the garbage by accident! That would explain why I hadn’t heard the phone ring when I’d called it before going to bed! It had been ringing in a garbage bag next to the road! (^.^) Imagine walking by garbage bags on a road and suddenly hearing a phone ring coming from the garbage bags? That would surely be surprising! (^.^) Maybe I didn’t throw the cell phone out with the garbage, but to this day, it remains the only explanation for the mysterious disappearance of that cell phone.
As the cell phone was insured, my wife called NTT docomo and explained the situation to them. They tried to locate my phone using the global navigation satellite system, Global Positioning System (GPS) but they couldn’t, which meant the phone wasn’t on. Was the cell phone in our city’s dumpster somewhere? (^.^) Luckily, my insurance covered some of this unfortunate happening, but we still had to pay about 8,000 Yen total for a new cell phone. We were in a 2-year, about 50,000 yen contract, which we were paying in monthly payments. Had I not gotten a new cell phone through the insurance coverage, we still would have had to pay the monthly fees for the cell phone until the end of the contract even if there was no more cell phone. What a relief that we had gotten the insurance for my cell phone!
The day before yesterday, my wife’s younger brother dropped his cell phone on the street outside his friend’s home. Once inside his friend’s home, he noticed it was missing and went back outside. He saw it lying in the middle of the road. He wanted to get it, but some cars were coming, so he stayed on the side of the road due to the danger. Unfortunately, to his horror, some cars ran over it right in front of his eyes, destroying it! It was left in pieces! Oh no!
He brought his cell phone (in pieces) to an NTT docomo shop and asked them, jokingly, to fix it. They laughed and said that they couldn’t. Unfortunately, he didn’t have any insurance for lost or damaged handsets like I did. Today, he started a new NTT docomo 2-year contract and got a new cell phone. However, he still has to continue paying monthly for the run over cell phone’s contract until it expires. The good news is that he got some insurance for his new cell phone! (^.^)
If you get an NTT docomo cell phone in Japan, I highly recommend getting insurance for lost or damaged handsets! It’s definitely worth it! (^.^)