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Telegram Not Dead STOP Alive, Evolving In Japan STOP

samzenpus posted about a month and a half ago | from the old-school dept.

Japan 144

itwbennett writes Japan is one of the last countries in the world where telegrams are still widely used. A combination of traditional manners, market liberalization and innovation has kept alive this age-old form of messaging. Companies affiliated with the country's three mobile carriers, NTT DoCoMo, KDDI and SoftBank, offer telegrams, which are sent via modern server networks instead of the dedicated electrical wires of the past (Morse telegraphy hasn't been used since 1962), and then printed out with modern printers instead of tape glued on paper. But customers are still charged according to the length of the message, which is delivered within three hours. A basic NTT telegram up to 25 characters long can be sent for ¥440 ($4.30) when ordered online.

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Japan is still pretty backwards in some ways (5, Interesting)

Tyrannicsupremacy (1354431) | about a month and a half ago | (#47669663)

Also worth mentioning is the way employees are paid, frequently envelopes of cash, direct deposit is not very popular yet there.

Re:Japan is still pretty backwards in some ways (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47669693)

How big of an idiot do you have to be to get your karma down to -1?

Re:Japan is still pretty backwards in some ways (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47669989)

Check his posting record... 633 comments, most of them AOL-tier, including whining about moderation.

Maybe he'll calm down when he graduates from high school.

Free hint for him: make fewer, higher-quality posts. Learn the trick of replying to get it out of your system, and then hitting cancel instead of submit because it wasn't really worth posting. "Does the whole world really care about what I just said?"

Re:Japan is still pretty backwards in some ways (1)

LordWabbit2 (2440804) | about a month and a half ago | (#47670081)

Good trick that, learnt it the hard way long ago. I apply it with emails as well.

Re:Japan is still pretty backwards in some ways (3, Interesting)

alta (1263) | about a month and a half ago | (#47670707)

which is why I always try to address the email AFTER I have written. Keeps me from accidentally sending something incomplete or something I would totally regret sending at all.

Re:Japan is still pretty backwards in some ways (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47671225)

Damn good advise... I'm going to take it. Thanks.

Re:Japan is still pretty backwards in some ways (1)

Wootery (1087023) | about a month and a half ago | (#47670775)

You might want to double-check the attribution of the quote in your sig. Or is it intended to be ironic?

Re:Japan is still pretty backwards in some ways (1)

sillybilly (668960) | about a month and a half ago | (#47671247)

It's funny that there'd be an http://slashdot.org/~girl [slashdot.org] I think someone created that account to be ironic, and there is no activity from it whatsoever.

I'm doing good with a positive karma, it used to be excellent, but now they cap me at 25 posts per 24 hrs (why can't they do 24 posts), but I'm doing much better than the top in the thread poster Tyrannicsupremacy with his http://i.cubeupload.com/T6cyLu... [cubeupload.com] terrible karma.

As far as the main topic is concerned, in Japan people understand the KISS principle. A telegram is an extremely simplistic way of communicating, though too bad they stopped Morse coding them in the 60s. According to wikipedia,
"The principle most likely finds its origins in similar concepts, such as Occam's razor, Leonardo da Vinci's "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication", Mies Van Der Rohe's "Less is more", or Antoine de Saint Exupéry's "It seems that perfection is reached not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away""

All you have to do is look at the furniture in a traditional Japanese paper room. There is almost zero, except a low lying coffee or tea table, and two floor pillows to sit on next to it. I don't know how much simpler a functional room can get than that.

Japan is still pretty backwards in some ways (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47669701)

Implying that cash isn't a superior method of getting paid.

Re:Japan is still pretty backwards in some ways (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47669885)

Salary dates are known. It's a risk to carry that much cash. Even manually cashed checks are better since they recipient's name is written on it.

Re:Japan is still pretty backwards in some ways (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47669933)

Not to mention that cash payments are ripe for tax avoidance.

Direct deposit and cashing a check both produce a paper trail that government accountants can track. Cash payments are much easier to hide.

Re:Japan is still pretty backwards in some ways (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47670445)

If you are a paid employee in Japan, your income tax is withheld directly from your salary. You don't even need to file a tax return unless you have source of income other than your primary employer.

Also, direct deposit is quite common at least among large organizations. Even part time workers get paid by direct deposit. I don't have experience or knowledge of smaller organizations though.

Disclaimer: I am Japanese, but I haven't worked in the country for about 10 years now. My comment is based on my experience, so it surely is outdated. Cursory search on the web also indicates a lot of Japanese now consider cash payments largely outdated as well as security risk. That said cash payments can still be found at smaller companies and in certain industry (such as movers and construction workers).

Re:Japan is still pretty backwards in some ways (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47671243)

Of course you're Japanese, I know you're not from the USA, your English is too good.

Re:Japan is still pretty backwards in some ways (1)

sillybilly (668960) | about a month and a half ago | (#47671263)

I wish you did not need to file a tax return in the US either unless you had an income source other than your primary employer.

Re:Japan is still pretty backwards in some ways (2)

F.Ultra (1673484) | about a month and a half ago | (#47670017)

We are talking about Japan here, they have practically no robberies.

Re:Japan is still pretty backwards in some ways (1)

sillybilly (668960) | about a month and a half ago | (#47671279)

Usually the places with highest suicide rates have the lowest violent crimes or robberies.

PS. Now the Slashdot submit button has a countdown timer, like some ad pages or shareware software, before they let you submit a short comment, or many short comments one after another. Lovely.

Re:Japan is still pretty backwards in some ways (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47670037)

Personal cheques do not exist in Japan and I'd be more afraid of getting killed by Godzilla than being mugged for my wallet.

No one gets paid in envelopes of cash unless they work for a small family business.

I used to get travel costs reimbursed in cash but that ended about 2 years ago.

Re:Japan is still pretty backwards in some ways (1)

Applehu Akbar (2968043) | about a month and a half ago | (#47670569)

Not in Japan it isn't, not even if you carry your cash in one hand in a Ziploc bag on the subway at night.

Re:Japan is still pretty backwards in some ways (2)

johanw (1001493) | about a month and a half ago | (#47669745)

Better than checks which appear to be still in use in the USA. At least it's anonymous.

Re:Japan is still pretty backwards in some ways (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47670009)

Why is being paid anonymously better? I'm not a fan of the "If you have nothing to hide..." argument, but I can't think of any non-shady reason.

Re:Japan is still pretty backwards in some ways (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47670165)

Here you go, Craigslisted item seller: all of my banking information at your fingertips. Nice tattoos! Thank you for not murdering me...

Re:Japan is still pretty backwards in some ways (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47670495)

It was about "the way employees are paid."

Re:Japan is still pretty backwards in some ways (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47670933)

Wow, what a fucking pussy you must be. Afraid of a guy with some tattoos, who is simply just trying to sell you something. You must piss yourself anytime someone startles you.

As for the checks..most people don't accept personal checks anyways because most people who write them are floating bad ones anyways.

Why getting paid anonymously is better (1)

ciaran_o_riordan (662132) | about a month and a half ago | (#47670507)

All bank notes have a unique identifying number, so receiving banknotes without them being linked to you means you can be more sure that you're free to do whatever you like with that money (join a gay dating site, pay for health tests, donate to activist groups, etc.) without someone having a record linking you to your purchases.

It also cuts out the banks, who can be controlled by corrupt governments (i.e. all of them, to varying degrees) who can get your accounts frozen, even when doing so is illegal. Just ask Julian Assange. Sometimes private businesses (e.g. PayPal) can do this too.

Re:Japan is still pretty backwards in some ways (1)

Ksevio (865461) | about a month and a half ago | (#47670121)

Why is that better? At least with a check I can deposit the money with my phone and I don't have to worry about being robbed on the way home.

Re:Japan is still pretty backwards in some ways (2)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about a month and a half ago | (#47670243)

I'm in my thirties and I haven't been paid by cheque... ever. It's always been direct deposit.

Re:Japan is still pretty backwards in some ways (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47670897)

I'm in my thirties and I haven't been paid by cheque... ever. It's always been direct deposit.

That's adorable.

Re:Japan is still pretty backwards in some ways (1)

Alioth (221270) | about a month and a half ago | (#47671145)

I'm in my 40s and I've never been paid by cheque, always been direct deposit (well, with the exception of cash in hand jobs done as a teenager, but they will always be cash in hand).

Re:Japan is still pretty backwards in some ways (1)

Tyrannicsupremacy (1354431) | about a month and a half ago | (#47670767)

Also of interesting note, the postal office of japan doubles as their national bank.

Re: Japan is still pretty backwards in some ways (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47669749)

I mean yes you do have the option of basing your claims about how paychecks work in Japan on Chobits rather than reality (where bank direct deposit is overwhelmingly the norm) but then I can't come over there and force you to stop being wrong as hard as you possibly could.

That said, fax machines ARE very much still a thing here in Japan.

Re:Japan is still pretty backwards in some ways (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47670051)

Cash in general is widely used there and for a good reason. Contrary to us Europeans and Americans, the increase in debt has been tackled by printing cash from the national bank rather than individual going to the bank and sign up for loans. That has resulted in an abundant stock of cash which is preferred over credits.

Re:Japan is still pretty backwards in some ways (1)

putaro (235078) | about a month and a half ago | (#47670193)

Sorry, "furikome" or bank transfer is the common way to pay people. Checks don't really exist, so if someone doesn't have a bank account they would need to get paid in cash.

Re:Japan is still pretty backwards in some ways (1)

Tyrannicsupremacy (1354431) | about a month and a half ago | (#47670787)

Ah, i was speaking from dated info then. I guess they're doing direct now too. Thanks for clarifying.

Re:Japan is still pretty backwards in some ways (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47670207)

Why would this be backward. USA still uses checks which are a rarity in Europe. And we have chip and pin which is a rarety in USA.

Several countries use telegraphs for special events. For example at the event of a birth one would send a telegraph (e.g. ordered online) with a persoaal message. Or for giving someone condolances for example. The receiver receives a card with a printed message. Way better (nicer/formal) than give one condolances in an SMS.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telegraphy#Worldwide_status_of_telegram_services

Re:Japan is still pretty backwards in some ways (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47670621)

the u.s. is so far ahead of the pack in all areas, it's laughable. we've already got corporate control over government and tyranny disguised as democracy for fuck sake.. so take that...

no seriously, take 'em. we don't want them

Makes sense (3, Insightful)

kruach aum (1934852) | about a month and a half ago | (#47669679)

They also still use faxes for similar reasons impenetrable and unfathomable.

Re:Makes sense (3, Informative)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a month and a half ago | (#47669697)

They also still use faxes for similar reasons impenetrable and unfathomable.

It's not hard to understand. Rather than signing documents with a signature the Japanese use unique stamps, hand made so that no two are quite the same. Everyone has a stamp with their name on. Stamping documents is seen as a way to say "I have checked this" or "I endorse this", and because you can't stamp an email or text message they print, stamp and fax documents.

In the west signatures are becoming less important as people move to use email for formal communication. We still sign letters but emails are considered equivalent for many purposes. In Japan there are now "electronic stamps" that create a "secure" (not really) PDF with an image of the user's stamp burned into it.

As for telegrams, I think it must just be nostalgic value. In the UK if you live to 100 you get a telegram from the Queen, because that's tradition. Certain events are marked with a telegram, the same way as certain events are marked with champaign or a cake or a card.

Re:Makes sense (1)

redback (15527) | about a month and a half ago | (#47669743)

The queen doesnt send telegrams anymore, you get a letter instead.

Digital stamping (2)

tepples (727027) | about a month and a half ago | (#47669765)

you can't stamp an email or text message

You can't stamp a text, but you can stamp an e-mail. Use any OpenPGP app to create a key pair, which has the property that any message encrypted with one half can be decrypted with the other half. This one half is your private key and the other half you make public. To stamp a digital message, first take its hash value, and then encrypt that with your private key. Then anyone else can verify your stamp by decrypting it with the public key and comparing it to the hash value of the message. Japanese video game console maker Nintendo, for instance, uses this method on Wii, DSi, 3DS, and Wii U software as a digital version of the Official Nintendo Seal.

Re:Digital stamping (1)

idontgno (624372) | about a month and a half ago | (#47670597)

Use any OpenPGP app to create a key pair, which has the property that any message encrypted with one half can be decrypted with the other half. This one half is your private key and the other half you make public.

Where?

There's no such thing as a single uniform federated national-level public key clearing house, in any nation. If you want this to happen for J. Random JapaneseGrandma, you'll have to install that first.

People who think PKI infrastructure is easy don't understand PKI.

Re:Digital stamping (1)

tepples (727027) | about a month and a half ago | (#47671123)

There's no such thing as a single uniform federated national-level public key clearing house, in any nation.

Even if the government of Japan isn't on board, I can't see anything that prevents a private trade association from starting an e-hanko CA that covers a whole industry.

Re:Makes sense (4, Informative)

JanneM (7445) | about a month and a half ago | (#47669935)

Stamping documents is seen as a way to say "I have checked this" or "I endorse this", and because you can't stamp an email or text message they print, stamp and fax documents.

I'm working in Japan, and while I almost never get or send a fax any more (it must be years now), it's decently common to send and receive PDF scans over email. In fact, sometimes you need to print out the scan, add your stamp, re-scan and send it back. I do - want to print a reference copy for myself anyhow - but I suspect some people simply add their stamp graphic to the document directly.

Re:Makes sense (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a month and a half ago | (#47670489)

Indeed, fax machines are slowly dying here in Japan. Even so, if you walk into Yodobashi Camera or Labi or BIC Camera you will find many models on offer. I'm afraid one anecdote doesn't suggest a wider trend.

Re:Makes sense (2)

Demonantis (1340557) | about a month and a half ago | (#47670525)

Here in Canada faxing is still common industries that do international business for the exact reason that emailing PDFs doesn't work. Some countries simply don't have reliable internet services. Telegram services probably still exist world wide since they are legally binding unlike email. Its one of those funny quirks about the legal system. Maybe people would have less problems cancelling with Comcast if they sent notice through telegram.

Re:Makes sense (2)

tlhIngan (30335) | about a month and a half ago | (#47671179)

Here in Canada faxing is still common industries that do international business for the exact reason that emailing PDFs doesn't work. Some countries simply don't have reliable internet services. Telegram services probably still exist world wide since they are legally binding unlike email. Its one of those funny quirks about the legal system. Maybe people would have less problems cancelling with Comcast if they sent notice through telegram.

It's not really a funny quirk, when you realize that telegrams generate a lot of records.

First, you compose a telegram, and a record of you sending that telegram is noted. Then the company sends the telegram to the other end, where both ends make a record that it was transmitted at what time, and on the receiving end, that it was received - what was received at what time, and then on delivery - what was delivered when to whom.

That sort of record keeping makes telegrams "more legal" since if a misleading message was sent, it's easy to tell did it originate at the sender, the receiver, or was it messed up along the way.

After all, other media can be mangled and no one is exactly sure where it got screwed up. You attached a signed PDF and it gets mangled somewhere - you're not sure where. Maybe you signed the wrong document. Maybe someone screwed it up in the middle (known-prefix attacks are the holy grail in cracking hashes).

Re:Makes sense (1)

wirefarm (18470) | about a month and a half ago | (#47670297)

As to faxes, handwritten business communications are not at all unusual among older companies, due to the fact that typing kanji was not as straightforward process 20 years ago as it is today.

I've sent telegrams in Japan, but only to couples who were getting married and whose wedding I couldn't attend. I've never seen them used for other things, but a wedding is likely to have a few telegrams read at the reception.

Re:Makes sense (1)

kruach aum (1934852) | about a month and a half ago | (#47670345)

You already mention signatures in your post, but there is no significant difference between a unique stamp and a unique signature in relation to (physical) documents. We sign things, they stamp things. Both are taken as unique identifiers of individuals; the only difference between them is the way in which they are produced. Meanwhile, we have moved away from faxes, while they have not. It's obviously due to an aspect of their culture, but that aspect is not the fact that they use stamps instead of signatures.

Re:Makes sense (1)

doggo (34827) | about a month and a half ago | (#47670469)

Also, in the west, facsimiles, or faxes, have legal weight that e-mail doesn't. Faxes also don't pass through X number of e-mail servers leaving copies of themselves in the server backups. At least I don't think they do, who knows with all this newfangled VOIP and "digital" stuffs.

Re:Makes sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47669699)

It's probably a direct result of (the history of) kanji and hiragana not being supported on digital devices.

Also, old people.

Re:Makes sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47670083)

Kanji and hiragana aren't directly supported by telegram either. Can you imagine the number of dit-dah combinations you'd need to memorize for a minimum of 2000 or so kanji?
Japanese telegrams are sent using katakana which have always been supported on Japanese market digital devices.

Re:Makes sense (2)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about a month and a half ago | (#47670619)

Can you imagine the number of dit-dah combinations you'd need to memorize for a minimum of 2000 or so kanji?

You'd probably use a short sequence for each of the brushstrokes and compose Kanji like from them. There's an input method (Cangee? Something like that) that works like this with a QWERTY keyboard. From 26 brush strokes, it can compose any Kanji and is apparently the fastest way of entering Kanji on a computer, although it takes a while to learn.

Re:Makes sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47670747)

They use katakana for Morse, anyway.

Fax for Mr. McFly (1)

tepples (727027) | about a month and a half ago | (#47669773)

They also still use faxes for similar reasons impenetrable and unfathomable.

So Back to the Future Part II got one thing right [www.howi.se] .

Re:Makes sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47670247)

I'm surprised that no one has mentioned this so far. Japan has over 100 million people above the age of 65. A significant percent of this is even older.
You're basically talking about 100 million people that grew up with telephones, trunk dialing, record players, and telegrams - for almost their entire life. Now, in their twilight years, you want them to learn and adopt to a completely different technology? Doesn't that smack of hubris and precociousness?

I don't know why, as a society, we have stopped thinking about these things. Technical progress and innovation is good. But do spare a thought for the many many people who have issues keeping up with technology or don't want to. If someone loves their 50s car and wants to drive it around instead of a modern hybrid, they feel that the society (they built) should let them, right?

So why get rid of telegrams? Heck, even pay phones have disappeared almost everywhere. If someone doesn't have a mobile phone and need to make a phone call, how are they supposed to do so?

Re:Makes sense (1)

kruach aum (1934852) | about a month and a half ago | (#47670373)

According to the CIA factbook, 23% of the 127 million people in Japan are 65 or older. That's significantly less than 100 million, but still a significant amount.

Re:Makes sense (1)

GuB-42 (2483988) | about a month and a half ago | (#47670895)

Fax was much more popular in Japan than it was in the west so it's no wonder that it is still in use today.
One of the reason for the popularity of fax, in addition to writing, are maps. Japanese addresses have no street names, they use a combination of district/block/house numbers which is very effective at losing people. As a result, it is common practice to send a map to mark a meeting place.

Language and Culture (1)

westlake (615356) | about a month and a half ago | (#47671029)

They also still use faxes for similar reasons impenetrable and unfathomable.

To someone unfamiliar with the language and culture.

Handwritten messages have long been a necessity in Japan, where the written language is so complex, with two sets of symbols and 2,000 characters borrowed from Chinese, that keyboards remained impractical until the advent of word processors in the 1980s.

A decade ago Yuichiro Sugahara learned the hard way about his country's deep attachment to the fax machine, which the nation popularized in the 1980s. He tried to modernize his family-run company, which delivers traditional bento lunchboxes, by taking orders online. Sales quickly plummeted.

Today, his company, Tamagoya, is thriving with the hiss and beep of thousands of orders pouring in every morning, most by fax, many with minutely detailed handwritten requests like ''go light on the batter in the fried chicken'' or ''add an extra hard-boiled egg.''

''There is still something in Japanese culture that demands the warm, personal feelings that you get with a handwritten fax,'' said Mr. Sugahara, 43.

Faxes continue to appeal to older Japanese, who often feel uncomfortable with keyboards. Demographics have left Japan dominated by older generations who are still more likely to have a fax number than an e-mail address.

In Japan, with the exception of the savviest Internet start-ups or internationally minded manufacturers, the fax remains an essential tool for doing business. Many companies say they still rely on faxes to create a paper trail of orders and shipments not left by ephemeral e-mail. Banks rely on faxes because customers are worried about the safety of their personal information on the Internet.

Even Japan's largest yakuza crime syndicate, the Kobe-based Yamaguchi-gumi, has used faxes to send notifications of expulsion to members, police say.

In High-Tech Japan, the Fax Machines Roll On [nytimes.com]

What's your preferred method of communication? (4, Funny)

Dins (2538550) | about a month and a half ago | (#47669689)

You've probably never heard of it.

So sorry to inform you (3, Funny)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about a month and a half ago | (#47669711)

Upcoming Slashdot maintenance STOP Aug 15 5 to 6 PM Eastern STOP beta.slashdot.org still useless during that time STOP

$4.30? (2)

fuzznutz (789413) | about a month and a half ago | (#47669731)

$4.30 for 25 characters? That makes text messaging seem cheap here.

Re:$4.30? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47669777)

That's about the rate for Hallmark greeting cards here. I imagine the telegram in Japan has similar cultural significance.

Re:$4.30? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47669959)

$4.30 for 25 characters? That makes text messaging seem cheap here.

For everyday communication yes it is very costly. But frankly you don't send telegrams every day.
I think in Japan, as in Italy by the way telegrams are sent mostly as condolence messages.
If you have to send 1 every day I'd seriously worry about being an acquaintance of yours.

Re:$4.30? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47669983)

25 Japanese characters. Which still isn't a lot, but assuming this includes kanji it might be enough to get a point across.

.

Re:$4.30? (2)

alexander_686 (957440) | about a month and a half ago | (#47669999)

If I had to guess it is a quasi-legal thing. People probably want some type of assurance that their message had been delivered.

I worked in a US Bank and we were still sending out telegrams in 2002. The telegram served kind of the same function as certified mail. We could confirm that the message had been received on the other end. We were conducting "urgent" business (generally business that needed a turnaround time of 1 to 3 business day) with older cliental (e-mail was not assured).

beta.slashdot.org STOP (-1, Offtopic)

Marrow (195242) | about a month and a half ago | (#47669733)

beta.slashdot.org STOP
beta.slashdot.org STOP

Message repeats at 10 second intervals.

Re:beta.slashdot.org STOP (2)

Sockatume (732728) | about a month and a half ago | (#47669849)

We've decoded part of that beta invitation... except it doesn't look like it was an invitation. It looks like it was a warning.

Re:beta.slashdot.org STOP (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47669993)

Add

216.34.181.45 beta.slashdot.org

to /etc/hosts, as a quick way to redirect beta.slashdot.org to the normal slashdot.

Re:beta.slashdot.org STOP (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about a month and a half ago | (#47670019)

Unfortunately there's no /etc/hosts file for MUTHUR.

beta.slashdot.org STOP (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47669981)

Surely beta STOP Slashdot STOP org STOP STOP STOP!

25 characters is too much for Haikus! (1)

DavidMZ (3411229) | about a month and a half ago | (#47669759)

They should have limited it to 17 characters. Since in Japanese each character of the two phonetic alphabets corresponds to a syllable, it would have been perfect for Haikus!

Re:25 characters is too much for Haikus! (3, Funny)

Joe Gillian (3683399) | about a month and a half ago | (#47670127)

Seventeen isn't enough STOP
For a haiku in English STOP
Not even counting stops STOP

Re:25 characters is too much for Haikus! (1)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | about a month and a half ago | (#47670265)

this is a haiku
each line is a tiny one
twenty three at most


Well, ok it sucks, (23 is the longest line, counting spaces) but it is 5-7-5...

Dat nostalgia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47669763)

Certainly it's a fairly niche market, but I could see it being rather useful for special occasions and such (especially considering the price). I love the nostalgia of it. But I'm not suprised considering a country that bases much of its culture on traditions. It makes old tech live on.

lol religious ideologues (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47669781)

market liberalization and innovation [...] basic NTT telegram up to 25 characters long can be sent for ÃÂ¥440 ($4.30) when ordered online.

Thank the Invisible Hand for her bounteous gift of Market Liberalization and Innovation gracing me with such a wide variety of cost-effective options!

*sends Morse "telegrams" with ham licence and homebrew radio costing about $25 one-off in junk parts*

I wonder if we'll look back in 500 years on The Market as many of us look at the Catholic Church now? I hope so. I know, for now, we're so much involved in the current fad that we're as a fervent Church-goer looking back at the pagan heathens who danced around maypoles, thinking that we've reached the best possible option. Look how bad things were before! look what wonders we have achieved under the current system! Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!

Re:lol religious ideologues (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about a month and a half ago | (#47670637)

*sends Morse "telegrams" with ham licence and homebrew radio costing about $25 one-off in junk parts*

If you think Morse sent over a Ham radio connection is equivalent to a telegram, then you're missing the point. It's only equivalent if someone prints it off at the far end and couriers it to the recipient.

Might even be pragmatic sometimes (5, Interesting)

Sockatume (732728) | about a month and a half ago | (#47669819)

Quite aside from tradition, which is great, there are situations where you need to send a message to a physical address. Maybe the occupant doesn't have a phone or email, or you don't know their contact details, or whether they even have a phone or email. If that message has to get there within three hours rather than overnight, then the $4.30 rate is pretty competitive with getting an express courier to carry a post-it note.

Do they send telegrams in English or Japanese? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47669847)

Character set?

Japan Telegrams are great. (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47669869)

When I was married, we received a handful of telegrams from friends and colleagues.

All were delivered as exquisite display pieces, with the message in a frame and everything. Very moving. This is what 'Telegrams' are for, special or official things. I will never forget it either.

Black Adder Reference (5, Funny)

Nahooda (906991) | about a month and a half ago | (#47669879)

Black Adder:
To Mr. Charlie Chaplin, Sennet Studios, Hollywood, California. Congrats stop. Have found only person in world less funny than you stop. Name Baldrick stop. Signed E. Blackadder stop. Oh, and put a P.S.: please, please, please stop

Chaplin's answer at end of episode:
Twice nightly filming of my films in trenches: excellent idea stop. But must insist that E. Blackadder be projectionist stop. P.S. Don't let him ever... stop

My Grandfather told me (4, Funny)

Truth_Quark (219407) | about a month and a half ago | (#47669895)

That when he heard his brother and wife had had their fifth child he sent a telegram that went: Congratulations Stop

why STOP in telegrams? (3, Interesting)

JigJag (2046772) | about a month and a half ago | (#47669943)

Hey Slashdot, does anyone knows why telegrams are peppered with the word 'STOP'? Was there no punctuation mark to use a period?

Re:why STOP in telegrams? (2)

Translation Error (1176675) | about a month and a half ago | (#47670041)

Hey Slashdot, does anyone knows why telegrams are peppered with the word 'STOP'? Was there no punctuation mark to use a period?

Apparently, when telegrams were in widespread use, four letter words were free but punctuation cost extra [theguardian.com] .

Re:why STOP in telegrams? (3, Interesting)

rossdee (243626) | about a month and a half ago | (#47670323)

The word STOP was free, but other small words still cost, therefore they were often left out.

At the end of the 20th century, the Universal House of Justice wrote emails that sounded like telegrams.

Re:why STOP in telegrams? (1)

F.Ultra (1673484) | about a month and a half ago | (#47670043)

http://www.theguardian.com/med... [theguardian.com]

Using the word "STOP" instead of a full stop saved money because four-letter words were free and punctuation cost extra.

Re:why STOP in telegrams? (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | about a month and a half ago | (#47670075)

I believe that telegrams were originally set up with X number of letters free, but punctuation cost extra. So often it made more sense to use to use 5 letters to add " STOP", rather than "."

Re:why STOP in telegrams? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47670087)

Because the British did not say "period". They said "full stop". And: using the word "STOP" instead of a full stop saved money because four-letter words were free and punctuation cost extra.

Re:why STOP in telegrams? (1)

rossdee (243626) | about a month and a half ago | (#47670277)

"Because the British did not say "period". They said "full stop".

Back then "periods" and the hygiene products associated with it were not mentioned

When I was in high school we would pronounce ASCII code 46 as 'point'

Re:why STOP in telegrams? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47670089)

Hey Slashdot, does anyone knows why telegrams are peppered with the word 'STOP'? Was there no punctuation mark to use a period?

Back in the day, you were charged for every character, including periods and commas, but for (some) reason STOP was free. To save the cost of one character you could choose to end each sentence in STOP. I suppose you could have some fun with a telegram company with a short message and at the end STOP repeated over and over and not be charged for them, but I haven't seen that actually done before.

Re:why STOP in telegrams? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47670157)

Hey Slashdot, does anyone knows why telegrams are peppered with the word 'STOP'? Was there no punctuation mark to use a period?

The reason was so that the naughty telegrams were more comical.

my dearest Lucy, I press your bosom into my member STOP these sins of the flesh will damn us both STOP don't stop STOP

Re:why STOP in telegrams? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47670257)

STOP is short for "STOP IT AND TIDY UP", and comes from a (very) old British Army meme amongst telegram operators who had to quickly pack away their station and make sure no equipment was left for exploitation by the enemy. At first it was used abruptly at the end of communication, soon becoming shortened to "STOP". When the first international Q code was put into operation, "STOP" no longer carried this meaning, and seasoned operators decided to use the word more generally as a sentence terminator.

As commercial telegraphy took off, businesses studying existing practice among operators noticed the "STOP"s everywhere and assumed they were a routine way of ending a sentence. They were also explained that it was once used in emergency scenarios at the end of messages, so, in a mixture of cautiousness and confusion, decided that this word would not be charged for. So, "STOP" became a free sentence terminator.

Re:why STOP in telegrams? (3, Interesting)

gman003 (1693318) | about a month and a half ago | (#47670281)

Morse code did not originally have punctuation. A period is also referred to as a "stop" or "full stop", so they would just use S-T-O-P in the place of a period.

Re:why STOP in telegrams? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47670289)

There was no punctuation. There were only letters and numbers. There was no distictions between uppercase and lowercase (traditionally all letters were uppercase). The "STOP" was really just an extra pause in the message, not the actual word. In verbally conveying a telegram, the term STOP was used to indicate such breaks which typically were found at the end of lines or sentences.
Rates were typically based upon the number of words (often varied by distance with a flat fee on top). If you wanted punctuation, the punctuation mark itself would be spelled out as any other word would, incrementing the word count and cost.

Re:why STOP in telegrams? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47670417)

Pretty much.

Telegrams were originally sent in Morse code, where only letters and numbers are encoded. You have to send "AR" (.-.-.) to signal end-of-message and "SK" (...-.-) to signal end-of-transmission. Boundaries between characters, words, and sentences are just progressively longer pauses. Typically, intra-character pauses are 1-dah length, intra-word pauses are 3-dah length, and intra-sentence pauses are longer but not strictly defined.

This all made ASCII look like a huge leap forward, with its bounteous 32 control characters and 95 character space that can represent not just letters and numbers, but both capital and lowercase letters as well as a bunch of punctuation! Such luxury!

Then Unicode-32 came along and crapped in everyone's corn flakes, danced on their graves, and hooked up with their sister.

Re:why STOP in telegrams? (1)

funwithBSD (245349) | about a month and a half ago | (#47670595)

Telegraphs were sent by Morse code. It is a period, but it is a said and printed STOP

Morse is not used anymore, last commercial use was at KPH, in Point Reyes California.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K... [wikipedia.org]

Worth a trip to see the site, selected by Marconi himself.

And elsewhere too (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47670015)

And here am I thinking that India was the last place sending telegrams and that they'd already pulled the plug. http://m.slashdot.org/story/187523

The last one we received... (1)

putaro (235078) | about a month and a half ago | (#47670213)

It's been a while since we received a telegram in Japan, but the last one we got came with a WInnie the Pooh stuffed animal. The message was in the honey pot.

Re:The last one we received... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47670881)

The last one I got in Japan can on a ceramic tile in a gift box.

There is a place for the Morse telegraph (3, Interesting)

davidwr (791652) | about a month and a half ago | (#47670407)

The non-wireless Morse telegraph using only 19th-century technology (plus modern conveniences like plastic-insulated wires) is a fun educational tool for places like museums that reflect the era when telegraphy was widely used.

It's also a fun educational tool for children's camps which specialize in either the history of that era or which specialize in STEM and which have a historical component.

The same can be said for semaphore signaling, "hand-crank" telephones, and even "tin can and a string" telephones.

Wireless telegraphy is still used by amateur radio operators and other hobbyists, alongside more modern "digital modes" like packet radio. Because of its very low bandwidth, Morse Code, particularly the computer-controlled "slow code" that is used on very-narrow-bandwidth transmissions in the sub-600KHz bands can typically get a message through in high-noise or low-effective-transmitting-power situations where other methods, such as "phone" (i.e. voice communication) or other digital modes can't.

Telegram or Telex? (1)

HotNeedleOfInquiry (598897) | about a month and a half ago | (#47670993)

My understanding, based on living there for a year back in the 80's, is that the service was more like our old TWX or Telex service, with many business having a small dedicated keyboard/printer to send and receive messages. Personal delivery was rarely used.
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