Originally Posted by SGladwell
Maybe it's my inferior Anglo-African blood showing through, but I just don't see how an expensive (and inevitably fragile) small bauble is superior to standard commuter fare such as The Economist or the New Yorker. Then at least the grease from the person's head in front of you will be on cheap paper instead of a bauble and/or one's hand.
The reality of a crowded commuter train in Japan is really barely imaginable to anyone who has not ridden one at least a few times. A lot of the time, opening up a magazine or newspaper is completely impossible, whereas gazing at a cell phone screen is still relatively easy.
Then there's just the fact of cultural preference. The Japanese love their cell phones and use them a lot
. They walk down the street and even ride bikes while staring into their cell phone screens. Many people own more than one and operate both at once.