Like elsewhere, the iPhone is hugely popular and hard to get in Japan. Earlier this week, actress Yumiko Shaku did a post in which talked about getting her first smartphone—the "new iPhone model".
Thing is, it wasn't the new iPhone. It wasn't even the old one. It was an iPod Touch.
Almost every Japanese celebrity has a blog. Actress Yumiko Shaku is no exception. On their blogs, Japanese celebrities post photos of themselves in fancy restaurants. Sometimes, they post photos of with their latest purchases. Know what went on sale recently? The iPhone 4S.
Lots of folks are not tech savvy. Even someone like Shaku, who has appeared in several video games, obviously doesn't have a handle on, say, the difference between an iPhone and an iPod Touch.
Shaku, who started out as a bikini model, is now a major TV actress. She got some of her first big breaks in games. She voiced heroine Aya Brea in Parasite Eve II and then released a photobook called Parasite Eve II Real Aya Yumiko Shaku in 1999. The book featured Shaku cosplaying as Aya Brea.
Shaku went on to voice game characters like Mobile Suit Gundam: Encounters In Space as well as Joanna Dark in the Japanese version of Perfect Dark Zero. All of this, including appearing at Xbox 360 launch events in Japan, might make for geek cred, but they don't make for tech cred.
In her original blog post, Shaku talked about how she had a regular clamshell for years, but finally decided to get a smartphone. So, she said she got the new iPhone and wrote some very brief impressions of the device.
As the Japanese internet was quick to point out, Shaku was not using an iPhone in her post, but an iPod Touch as evident by the shape and by "iPod" written where the cell phone carrier should be.
The following day, she ran a correction on her blog, stating that, yes, she had mistaken an iPod Touch for the new iPhone. Online, Japanese netizens wondered exactly how one goes about mistaking a phone, something used to phone people, with an iPod Touch, something that you don't. Of course, one could use an iPod Touch to Skype, but Shaku did not mention Skype. She did mention how she liked the swiping motion.
"But, I downloaded apps, music, and email and did that finger swiping motion, too and used a TV phone," Shaku blogged. "It's problem of the nuance of what you call this instead of a smartphone." The lack of, you know, a phone plan should have been a dead giveaway.
On Japanese forums, commenters noted that obviously she's not tech savvy, but found her mistake and her correction to be adorable.
"This is on purpose," one commenter wrote, believing that her mistake was designed to make her appear tech illiterate and appeal to Japanese otaku. "Boy, this is cute," another noted, while yet another wrote, "Now, I'm a fan of her." And she seems to be a fan of her new
Good thing she didn't confuse an iPad with an iPhone 4S. Boy, that would've been embarrassing.