Whenever I take the train there is something that I look forward to – the conversations of kids and young people. It might seem distasteful, but it is a good opportunity to learn what kinds of things they are thinking about, what is popular, and what the hot topics are. Today, while waiting on a platform along the Chuo line, I encountered some elementary school students (boys) on their way to school. They looked cute in their matching uniforms and school bags. The topic of conversation was smartphones. Among elementary school students there are very few children who have smartphones (I think). However, they seemed to be extremely interested in them, and a “survey” about which smartphones their fathers used began.
“What is yours using?”
“Softbank, so probably iPhone”
“Softbank has other smartphones besides iPhone, you know”
“He’s been using it for 2 years. Recently there are series, right?
(to another boy) “And what about yours?”
“DoCoMo, I think”
”Wasn’t there just some kind of accident?”
“I’m not sure, but it’s not the kind of mobile phone that folds in half. The screen is big”
“That’s a not a smart phone, it’s, what’s it called, the one that’s bigger than a smart phone”
“Not that big”
I think that they were older elementary school students, but I was still surprised at the content of their conversation. Even though they weren’t using smartphones, they knew all about them. After the above conversation, they began pondering what types of smartphones their teachers used. It seemed that they hadn’t really witnessed their teachers using them before, but the conversation perked up when they began to imagine “so-and-so teacher seems like DoCoMo, etc.”
There were a few interesting points from their conversation. The only smartphone carrier brand names that were mentioned were Softbank and DoCoMo. Also, in terms of product names, no other names except iPhone were mentioned. However, it seemed that they did not know that iPhone is Apple. There was the impression that Softbank manufactured and sold it, and they used the phrase “Softbank makes it.”
I was also surprised that the specific year, 2008, didn’t come up and instead “from 2 years.” Also, I was shocked that they perceived last month’s DoCoMo email service disruption as an “accident.” Today’s elementary school students are formidable, but seeing them call home (to their parents) in between this conversation was really cute.