“Kentaro Tohyama is proud of his new iPhone. He stood overnight in line to get it when the device became available in Japan for the first time. But the 29-year-old computer engineer isn’t about to part with his made-in-Japan cell phone either,” Yuri Kageyama reports for The Associated Press. “That kind of cautious response to the July 11 arrival of Apple Inc.’s phone appears common in Japan.”

“The iPhone was welcomed here with long lines of gadget fans. But it’s also being seen as shockingly alien to this nation’s quirky and closed mobile world… For example, young people in Japan take for granted the ability to share phone numbers, e-mail addresses and other contact information by beaming it from one phone to another over infrared connections. Being without those instantaneous exchanges would be the death knell on the Japanese dating circuit,” Kageyama reports. “While the iPhone has Bluetooth wireless links, it has no infrared connection.”

“Also missing from Steve Jobs’ much-praised design: a hole in the handset for hanging trinkets. Westerners may scoff at them as childish, but having them is a common social practice in Japan,” Kageyama reports.

MacDailyNews Take: Get an iPhone case that offers a hole for hanging trinkets. “Problem” solved.

Kageyama continues, “Softbank Corp., the Japanese carrier of the iPhone, said it sold out of the devices on the first day. But it did not reveal how many had been available. One clue comes from GfK Marketing Services Japan Ltd., which said Softbank sold half of all mobile phones in Japan that day, up from a typical 19 percent.”

“Many Japanese buyers were curious about the iPhone’s sleek design. And some acknowledged that the device might show the Japanese market some new tricks,” Kageyama reports. “Tohyama’s eyes were opened by the iPhone’s quick access to the Internet, much like that of a personal computer. Some Japanese cell phones show Web pages, but access on even the latest models is slower than on the iPhone. Most Japanese phones don’t present as colorful a picture as the iPhone does… ‘Until I owned an iPhone, I didn’t see as clearly how closed Japanese content was,’ Tohyama said. ‘It was not a global standard at all.'”

More in the full article here.