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[registrars] Telephones and earthquakes.

Dear Colleagues:

For those of you who have heard of our recent volcanic and earthquake 
activities, you may want to visit son William's http://www.geology.com 
site.  For earthquakes, click on the left margin under "earthquakes" and 
select University of Edinburgh.


Scroll down to today's date and "18:57 NEAR S. COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN   5.7 
Mb   10.0 (Good)".  Click on the hypertext and you'll be taken to Xerox 
PARC in Palo Alto, CA.  Click on the map several times and zoom into the 
larger scale maps.  You might even be able to pull down the following directly.


This quake affected the offshore island Kozushima.  It is near Miwakejima, 
where there was concern about a possible volcanic eruption last week.

This morning the 07:00 NHK news was showing it as magnitude 6.4.  However, 
they is probably on the empirical Japanese scale (1=imperceptible, 
2=rattles the shoji screen, etc.)  The one on the Edinburgh list was 
magnitude 5.7.

What does this all mean to you who are contemplating coming to Japan?  Who 
am I to say, a native Californian who has lived in Tokyo for 29 years?  I 
am rather blase about quakes.  The modern hotels in Yokohama were built 
after the most recent upgrade in the building codes.  In the dreadful Kobe 
quake of about ten years ago, single family residences built in the prior 
ten years had little serious damage, no collapsed floors, no collapsed 
roofs (lighter roofing materials than the traditional heavy tiles).  The 
worst damage was broken water pipes.

My suggestion, don't consider staying away from these important meetings, 
I'd rather be here any time than in Cairo;-}

Japanese telephones:

Oh, there's so much to say about the differences.  Let me try.

1. The Japanese pay phones use 10 yen and 100 yen coins.  The 500 yen 
feature has been closed up because people were able to alter the Korean 500 
Won coin enough to fool NTT.  (It's worth about one-fifth of the Japanese 
100 yen coin.)  The phone also uses phone cards, available in denominations 
of 500 yen up.  (They, too, have been altered so that there are none over 
1,000 yen any more.)

1a. The ten yen coin is copper red, a bit larger than a U.S. penny, [value 
US 9 cents].  The 100 yen coin is silver, a bit smaller than a US quarter 
[value US 90 cents].  Neither have a hole in the middle. The brass coin 
with a hole is 5 yen, the aluminum one is 1 yen, the silver coin with the 
hole is 50 yen.  The NTT phone does not make change, use 10 yen coins to 
minimize your loss;-}

1b.  Vending machines are found in many places where you can obtain a phone 
card.  You'll also find them at major tourist spots like the Great Buddha 
in Kamakura -- with photos of important places.

2. The Tokyo and Osaka exchanges use eight digits local dialing, as do the 
cell phones.  The area code for Yokohama is 045.  From abroad, dial 
+81-45-+++.  The area code for the 23 wards of Central Tokyo is 03, Osaka 
is 06 for its central city.

3. You can use the area code even when you are in the area.  That is, in 
Tokyo you can put 03 in front of the number and it will work just as 
well.  In the days of packet switching and local bulletin boards (1983 to 
1995), conventional wisdom said you got a more reliable connection if we 
put 03 in front of the dialup number.

4. There are two kinds of personal phones, PHS and Keitai (cell 
phones).  In either case, the *caller* not the recipient, pays the 
surcharge for personal phone calls.  The prefixes are 090 for cell phones 
and 070 for PHS.  If you call one from a pay phone, you'll see your money 
count down quickly if you use your phone card.  You may be cut off abruptly 
if you use coins -- keep a 10 yen coin handy and insert it quickly when you 
hear a tone.

4a. The Personal Hand Sets (PHS) are line of sight from an 
antenna.  Antennae are installed on coke machines, coffee machines and pay 
phone booths.  You can see 1 to 3 antennae on a pay phone as you walk down 
the street.  Each antenna can accommodate up to ten calls.  You must stay 
relatively stationary when using a PHS.

4b. The Keitai (pronounced "Kay Tie") use cellular antenna arrays.  These 
are the ones which are moving quickly to receive and send Email, surf the web.

5. Most pay phones have dataports!  You'll find an analog and ISDN dataport 
on most green and gunmetal pay phones (not the pink phones in restaurants.)

6. In a separate posting, I've told about the 0990 number where you can 
dialup and pay a surcharge of 20 yen per minute for Internet Access.  Here 
it is again:

The access number is 0990-611-000. DNS is with username 
"guest" and password "guest". If you have any questions the Chrisscross 
office number is (03)3237-3626.

All for now.

Personal regards,
BobC, a Caltech grad who takes his earthquakes (Ji Shin) in stride.

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