-Getting a Keitai:
There are many ways to get one. You can:
1) Buy from an online store. Benefits are that what you see on the webpage is generally what you get, and there’s someone to complain to if something goes wrong. However, be prepared to pay a decent premium since they like to price gouge.
2) Buy from a local store: Absolutely not recommended. Use as a last resort if you can’t get it online or otherwise, or just don’t trust buying online. Why, you ask? If you think the markup is bad from buying an online store, the price you’ll get at a local store is infinitely worse. On top of that, chances are that the seller won’t have any clue about how to use it and just sees selling keitais as a really lucrative income source.
3) Buy direct from Japan(through a middleman): If you can just go to Japan and buy one, why are you reading this? Otherwise, you can buy direct from a seller in Japan through a middleman. Providers of this service include “Rinkya” and “Shopping Mall Japan” (Google these). The costs will generally be the phone itself, plus a middleman fee, shipping, and customs. How worth it this method is will depend on the yen exchange rate: IE, not now as of January, 2009. This is because you will be paying for the phone itself in Yen, and this price is generally reasonable as long as the exchange rate isn’t too awful.
Keitais in Vancouver: To be honest, Vancouver is probably one of the better places in North America to get a Japanese cellphone. This is because we’ve got a ridiculously large Asian population compared to most other cities. Richmond has many local stores with actual somewhat-knowledgeable sellers who probably know what they are talking about. Oh and we’ve got a Daiso here, so you can find some accessories there.
-Getting a Keitai in Vancouver
The general points above apply, but as stated we are a bit better off.
Some local stores are:
I got my hypersim here. They carry J-phones but call beforehand to make sure they have what you want.
They are more import phones in general but also carry some J-phones.
One of the more well-known keitai providers in general, but they have a rep specially in Vancouver who from what I heard can do MM unlocks locally. This is a great boon since then we don’t have to ship them to Taiwan or otherwise.
Reception in Vancouver is fairly decent as the entire GVRD has 3G coverage. However, be prepared to CPR a decent amount, especially in deadzones. From what I can see the reception issue is particularly bad in Canada in general. Oh and you will need a Rogers simcard, preferably an older one like a 3040, no exceptions. See other places for how to hypersim and such. Nothing special, just pop it in and you’re ready, same restrictions here as in other places. If the phone has international support, then it will work as such.
One another note, Taiwanese and other similarly unlocked-by-default localized versions of Keitais will work fine here without hypersims, and get slightly better reception although you may still need to CPR now and then. Get one of these if you just want to avoid the hassle of unlocking or otherwise.