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Portable-Wi-Fi and Staying Connected with Friends and Family While Teaching in Japan

Portable-Wi-Fi  vs. Free Wi-Fi. Is it worth shelling out around 500 yen a day to stay connected during your visit in Japan?

Portable-Wi-Fi is making inroads to free Wi-Fi services that are popping up all around Japan. Always hip-to-the-skip McDonald's has followed Starbucks and a host of others in providing free Wi-Fi. The hamburger giant alone has roughly 1,500 restaurants throughout Japan. They started rolling out this service in 2016 and users can log on using email, Facebook, or a Twitter account. 

Wi-Fi hotpots. Just in Tokyo Mind YouWi-Fi Hotpots. Just in Tokyo Mind You!

Kobe for example - the sixth largest city in Japan, like most cities in Japan, has free access to Wi-Fi - in airports, railway stations that dot the country, chain coffee shops throughout Japan and of course the bad boys of business - McDonald's who believe it or not have roughly 3,000 hotspots alone which grows every year. One glance at the pic above shows you what you need to know in terms of density.

Hotspots, like weeds, grow daily in Japan. To register for free Wi-Fi,  present your passport at the a tourist information center in whatever city you find yourself in. In general the service time is quite limited. Usually about a week - two if you're lucky. It depends on where you are and the provider you contract with.

Free Wi-Fi you say? Seems too good to be true. But there is a catch to this. After all I'm sure you've heard that the most expensive thing in life is something that is free. And so it holds true with Wi-Fi as well.

Staying connected for free can cost you. How is this? One of the biggest threats that you run into when getting something for free is the cost. What? The ability for a hacker to get him or herself between you and the connection point whether it is Starbucks, a hotel, an airport or the golden arches of McDonald's. This is where portable-Wi-Fi plays a role.

You see, instead of connecting or talking to the hotspot directly you are in effect dishing out your information to the hacker  who stands between you and the hotspot who then relays it to his/her sources. So what exactly does this mean? Well in a nutshell, hackers can get to you. The hacker has access to every piece of info. you're sending out on the internet. In effect he or she has access to your personal data. 

  • Important e-mails 
  • Credit card info. 
  • Even security credentials to  your business network
  • Passwords etc. 

Once the hacker has that info. he or she can access your system as if they were you. He or she has become you in terms of how the internet reads it. You just got copied/ replicated.

So what are your options? Using a VPN is a good start. It means Virtual Private Network. Most know it as portable-Wi-Fi.  Even though you may be enjoying your latte while surfing the latest on what ever news crops up on social media networks, Yahoo etc. with friends at your local cafe, you have a layer of protection via portable Wi-Fi.

You may be tempted to ask "Can it be hacked?" Yes it can. Portable Wi-Fi can be hacked. This is where portable-Wi-Fi comes in with unsecured connections.

Why the hack? Human nature perhaps. Hackers generally look for easy to attack targets. Portable-Wi-Fi is heavily encrypted. It's tough to break it because of the time it takes to hack through the encryption.

Think of it this way, if you need a dollar, is it easier to ask your best buddy for a dollar or break into Citibank? Same idea. Hunt the weak. That's what they do folks and they do it well.

Portable Wi-Fi  is a Work Around to Staying Safe While Surfing But It is Not Cheap. Here are Some Work Providers

Here's a list of 5 of the biggest portable Wi-Fi providers in Japan.

  • Japan Wireless. 4,000 yen a day. English speaking staff plus unlimited data & no speed restrictions. 10 hour battery life.
  • Sushi Wi-Fi. 6,092 yen a day. Data usage is unlimited. 5 hour battery life.
  • Pupuru Wi-Fi. 5,670 yen per day. Unlimited usage 8 hours of battery life.
  • Ninja Wi-Fi. 7,560 yen per day. Data usage is  unlimited. 9 hour battery life.
  • Wi-Fi Rental Store. 5,120 yen per day. Data usage amount 20 GB. Battery life is between 3 to 4 hours.

All of these carriers offer pick up of your portable Wi-Fi system at airports and hotels. And to make it just a little bit more convenient they allow you to return it via their postal system.

And if you're crazy pressed for time they also can also deliver it to your hotel within a day. For the higher end packages It takes a bit more in terms of delivery time. The cheaper packages take a bit longer 3 to 4 days. But then again we haven't deviated from the theme that their is no free hot lunch. We pay for what we get.

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