by Justin Hall
When I worked as a journalist in Japan, I retold a lot of collected wisdom from my circles. In technology writing of the early 2000s, it was common knowledge that Japanese schoolgirls had pioneered texting on mobile phones.
I never stopped to research where that wisdom came from.
Mimi Ito, who also edits this site, asked me to take a look at some manuscripts she was preparing for MIT Press. They were research papers, written by Japanese academics who had been researching mobile phones. They were translated into English, and I was to help smooth out the translations.
Here were the original seeds of global mobile technoculture - devices invented for arcane business purposes adapted to the street. These essays described that process in glittering detail - teenagers interviewed, mobile habits on the subway observed and noted, family life described and detailed.
It was a rich experience, to find my technoculture half-truths deepened. What I suspected about Japanese mobile life was here richly annotated, by working anthropologists. It's the type of depth journalists can only hope for, and poach from for their pieces.
That book is Personal, Portable, Pedestrian : Mobile Phones in Japanese Life, edited by Mizuko Ito, Daisuke Okabe, Misa Matsuda. It's an interesting read, especially if you or anyone you know uses a mobile phone.
Posted by Justin Hall at 2005年08月24日 02:45