Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Mixi is the Japanese Facebook. After attending an event in Naha a couple weeks ago that was comprised of people who met on Mixi, I decided that I wanted to join. The site is a bit daunting, being all in Japanese, but I know enough to get around. First step, I had to have an invite. I posted this wish in my Facebook status update and got it within 20 minutes! That night I began working on it, but I got hung up on the required cell phone email address (Japan doesn't 'text', we/they send emails to each other's unique phone email addresses). I thought surely an 'alternate' email address (like at would suffice. But nope.

So I went to the internet to see how to get around this and I found a can of worms. Last year Mixi instituted a requirement that anyone wanting to join must have a Japanese cell phone. If you don't have a Japanese cell phone (anybody living outside Japan and me) and you think about this for a minute, you ask why? If you have ever heard the accusations of xenophobia in Japan and attempts at keeping foreign residents (not tourists) out, it doesn't take long to form an assumption.

A couple of comments I saw on blogs were from people who had written Mixi to ask why. Mixi's response was 'for security reasons.' So people with cell phones are inherently more secure than those without?

I want to give Mixi credit for having real-life meetings, discussing this at length, and NOT saying things like "we need to keep everybody outside of Japan (including Japanese ex-patriates) off our site." But I can't come up with anything more rational (or less irrational).

So I asked around and found out the cell phone is only used for one confirmation email that must be clicked through (from the cell phone). And that's it. So I asked a couple friends who are not joining Mixi if I could borrow theirs. I couldn't. But my awesome sister came through and got me in.

And now that I'm a member of Mixi, I haven't done anything with my page. I was describing to a Japanese friend that my initial interest was mild, but once I found out they didn't want me to join then I really wanted in. She described me with this Japanese phrase: まけずぎらい. That is said "ma-ke-zu gu-rai" and it means "don't like to lose."

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