Hit Bic Camera with The Eng to sort his home network situation. Having too many problems with his current solution, so we decided to switch him to Yahoo DSL. Paperwork was no problem, except for the arbitrarily useless phoneline issue -- the joy of having one and only one phone company:
In Japan, all phonelines have an owner. Of course, these days thanks to deregulation, you can rent out your phoneline to anyone. So The Eng's phoneline isn't his, he rents in. (Buying to own a phoneline is a magically expensive process.) The "construction" necessary to convert a phoneline to do DSL requires the OWNER'S (not the renter's) approval. And due to Personal Information Protection laws, NTT couldn't actually tell us who the owner was -- the fact that we know who it is "proves" to NTT that we have permission.
So we're sitting in Bic Camera, in the first place me doing everything because The Eng no speak the Japonesi. The Bic Camera dude calls NTT, hands The Eng the phone. Which I take. NTT lady says "Who is this?" and I confirm that I am The Eng, by reciting my name, address, and phone number. Then she asks who owns the line. The Eng has a blank look on his face. We try the name of his real estate agent. Nope. Trading assistant. Nope. Admin. Nope. Aha, maybe it's the owner of the apartment? What's her name? No idea. The Eng calls his real estate agent. She says the last name. I tell NTT. Yup, got the last name right. Now what about the first name? What?! I talk to the real estate agent. Akiko? Nope. Nanako? Nope. Keiko? Nope. Real estate agent calls her office. Gets someone to look at the paperwork. Calls The Eng back. Not sure how to pronounce the first name? Guess a couple of standard readings and finally Nail it: Sumiko! NTT lady on the phone confirms that, since we have given her The Eng's name, address, phone number, and the full name of the lady who owns the phone line, we have proven whatever it is we are required to prove, and have now been authorized to do whatever it is that needs to be done for his phone line to be switched to Yahoo DSL.
I love bureaucracy.

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