Tokyo Damage Report


So 4 weeks ago, i returned from America to my Tokyo home. Since then,I got my service cut off no less than 4 times, each with a totally different reason!

I logged on, innocently, and watched my email for a few days. Then the shit got disconnected. the error message said something like, “Connection error 294a.” After driving myself half-mad tinkering with routers, tech support, network settings, cables, and cyber-bits, I find out that the way to fix connection error 294a is to pay the phone company $40. turns out that while I was in America, my partner never paid the phone bill.


So, that took a good 2 days to fix. I pay them, shit gets turned on and it works long enough for me to download like one boo-yaa tribe album, and then it turns off again. This time the problem IS high-tech: my PC’s network card is broken.


The phone company sends a dude over to my house for free to check and make absolutely sure that it’s not their responsibility. I ask the guy, how can I fix this? He says I can’t recommend anyone. So now I call the PC tech support and rock out like that for a while. Turns out Epson Computer Company only has ONE repair facility on the island of Honshuu, and it is in Nagano, like 40000km away. That’s like if Dell computer’s only repair shop was a guy’s garage in Nome Alaska, and the guy is not even home because it’s happy hour down at The Ralphing Grizzly. and they just dump the computers into a huge funnel in his garage until he gets back. They say I can get a licenced, Epson-affiliated mechanic to come to my house and fix it, but even getting an estimate from such a person costs $300, because apparently there are only 4 pc mechanics in Japan, despite, oh, EVERY SINGLE PERSON WHO HAS A COMPUTER WANTING EXACTLY THIS SERVICE. I ask 20 times, can’t I get this fixed in Akihabara? But she says, I have no idea. Eventually I am reduced to yelling TSUKAENAI! TSUKAENAI! ("USELESS! USELESS!") INTO THE. . . into the phone until my voice gives out.


I complain about this to my friend Drew, and in 5 seconds he tells me what 15 minutes of tech support did not: I can get a replacement usb network card for $20. In the city where I live. By myself without a pro. I’m like HOW YOU EVEN KNOW THAT SHIT??? YOUR COMPUTERS AREN’T HELD TOGETHER BY STRING AND GUANO! YOUR SHIT HAS ORIGINAL PARTS THAT WORK!

Anyway, what is up with tech support people? Are they really that ignorant, or they are just covering their ass by deliberately withholding advice that has a slim chance of being wrong?

So. Buy the card, plug it in, get internet. For like 3 days. Then, just when I was in the middle of watching THIS, internet stops AGAIN. This time it is connection error 789: bad password. Wtf? After more calls to various companies, it turns out that my partner never paid the ISP either. This is not suprising, considering that we have had their service for over 4 months AND THEY STILL HAVE NOT SENT US A SINGLE BILL.

Nonetheless, they are punishing us like the naughty children we are. I call the customer service who foists me upon the tech support department who connects me to the billing department, who somehow believes my side of the story and reconnects me until such time as they get around to sending me a bill. Nice lady!


Thence, I go back and try to connect again : error 789 cold chillin in effect! Fuck! Call back. They tell me to re-enter my password manually because Windows’ auto-password-remember feature has a bug: when a company cancels a password, windows will make up a fake one and enter THAT. I have no idea either. This is what they said. Anyway I go to re-enter my junk when I realize that I lost the paper upon which the password is written.

I ask tech-support-lady, what is my password?

her: what do you mean?

me: i lost it




me: um, what’s my password?

her: I can’t tell you.

Me: dude, what do you mean?

Her: it’s for your privacy protection! (currrrrrsed)

Me: ok so what do we do?

Her: well we have to initiate the procedure for getting you a new password which should take about a week and involve repeated trips to the internet cafe plus a fax machine. . . .


Her: . . . during which time of no internet you’ll be billed at the regular rate, since the billing department lady did you the favor of turning your service back on just now.

Me: and this is why?

Her: to protect your privacy.

Me: but it’s MY PASSWORD. Why can’t I know it?

Her: privacy!

Me: why don’t you cut off my internet for a year then?? Why not make it TWO years? And then charge me double because it’s EVEN MORE PRIVATE THAT WAY? so private EVEN I DON’T KNOW IT!! hey– If nobody at all could use the internet, think how FUCKING safe it would be!!!!!

Her: sir, please calm down. (goddamn foreigners, always getting mad about trivial stuff!)

Me: can I at least get a temporary password until the real one comes through?

Her: no. it is the fault of windows operating system. (currrsed! uncleeean) . You must apply for a new password.

me: i got a better idea: why don’t i apply for a new service provider!


So i go to the local technology store and ask about other isps. They say that in Japan, the customer signs a single contract for phone service and ISP at the same time, so you can’t change your isp. I’m like, "Hey great, the inneficiency of communism combined with the greeed of capitalism! That is a great thing you got here in Japan, Mr. Number Two Economy In The World!"

<rant/ typical japan. . . the big companies have a monopoly on shit so they have absolutely no incentive to actually compete with each other by offering better service to customers. In america it is only the oil and pharmacutical industries. Here it is the norm /rant>


So I do the bullshit procedure, wait a week, and actually see what the outside world looks like. when i get tired of that (2 hours 14 min.), i pass the time with the following brainteaser: if they don’t trust me to tell me my own goddamn password, how can they trust me enough to change the password? How do they even know which account’s password they are changing??? Maybe I am some crazy insane nutty kinky guy that pretends to be people on the phone and changes their passwords for them?? How safe is that????


Anyway, a week later, the letter comes. I enter the new password, salivating and shaking like your mom waiting for the clinic to open. Here is what greets me: ERROR 789 in every orifice. And of course, it is 7 pm, too late to call tech support. I call the following morning and ask what the eff.


Me: the eff?

Another lady: oh, I am looking at your case file here. The new password you waited a week for isn’t scheduled to go into effect until the first of next month.

Me: the emm eff?????!???? How can that be? Not sheer greed and laziness, that’s for sure. I bet some engineer has been hunched over his computer, working a week nonstop trying to make a new password for me! For a week, he hasn’t eaten, hasn’t slept, just spent 168 straight hours trying to write a program somehow capable of changing a password from 3k54n5i to 3k483kxx, fingers cracked and bleeding from overtyping, peeing in a bucket to save time. His co-workers pop their heads into his dungeon from time to time, whispering, “He’s mad, mad I tell you! It is impossible to ever change a password! Even with quantum computing it would take over 45 years!” So anyway this guy has been at it for a week, and he’s still not done???? He needs until next month? What, he’s waiting for a new cassette-tape drive for his TRS 80?

Another lady: well, sorry about that. I’ll ask my boss if we can get you a temporary password. (after 1 single second) we can.

Me; huh???? But I’ve been a week with no porn I mean internet because the first tech-support lady specifically told me you guys can’t give temporary passwords because it’s all windows’ fault and boo to them, safety, privacy, unclean, currrrsed, etc.

Another her: well, hm. You want this temporary password or not?

Me: I WANT IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!


So she gives me my new temporary username and password. I enter them. 789 all upside my head. Jesus. Check the modem lights, restart the computer, all that shit. just 789 in my face all day. Tech support lady comes back, “Whoopsie, the I got the username and password backwards. Try entering them in the opposite fields.”


Bingo. Internet.

christ i feel like i just took the biggest dump of my life. relieved and rectally scarred at the same time.


Of course, it’ll only last until tomorrow. . .because while I was waiting for my one-week password to arrive, I had a party and a Canadian stepped on my brand-new network card, which is now held together with scotch tape and guano

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