• 10 . 09 . 04
  • In which my name is hilariously mangled by NTT and I have to ask someone over the phone what it is.

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The Gaijin Formerly Known As Jamie

In the ongoing farce that is my attempt to get internet access in my house, customer services have outdone themselves once again and delayed the installation date one more time. You wouldn’t believe how difficult it is to get an internet connection in the world’s most technologically advanced country, even counting the fact that I barely speak the language.

To have the internet, you need to have a phone line. So, two weeks ago I duely added applied for a phone number in my name, which was activated last week. So far, so good. Then, I applied for broadband with the internet division of the same company, NTT. This all seemed to be going fine as well, thanks to the help of the English speaking section.

However, all was not well in the land of broadband. I received a letter in Japanese which told me that the name of the broadband account did not match the name of the phone line account. “That’s strange,” I told them, “I applied for it myself, and even faxed them my gaijin card to prove it. They couldn’t have registered it under someone else’s name, could they?”

How naive I was. My name, owing to some judicious pressure by my uncles, is a little long. Not that long mind you; James Graham Michael Talbot is hardly the longest name in the world. However, it is too long to be a valid registration name for NTT. That’s fair enough. So, have a guess what my name is registered with for NTT. Talbot James? No. James Graham Talbot? Nope. James Michael Talbot? Not even close. My official name registered with NTT is… Talbotgraham Michael.

I have tried to figure out how they arrived at this, but there is literally no logical explanation I can think of for totally ignoring my first name and combining the rest arbitrarily. Fixing the problem was further obstructed by NTT’s supposedly beneficial personal information policy, which prevents anyone else from finding out my name, including people in the same company, even with my explicit authorisation. Honestly, Japanese beaurocracy is second to none. The internet division which needed the account name is probably located in the same building as those who have the information.

Well, this made it necessary to get the account holder’s name myself. Picture it; me asking a Japanese person what my own name is in broken Japanese on a telephone. They must have thought I was mental, as my Japanese is nowhere near good enough to explain why I needed to know it.

Anyway, internet connection put back a week, sorry for the delay, blah blah blah… I remain optimistic that I’ll have the internet in my apartment for at least a few days before I return to England…

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