Is the future here yet?

I’m currently sitting in the World’s Tiniest Laundromat on Karasuma-dori in Kyoto, waiting for the wash and dry cycle of the giant incomprehensible machines to complete. This is an interesting down time for us; laundry day while traveling is generally boring, but this trip I’ve tried something new: I rented a pocket wifi hotspot, so amazing between that and Skype my iPhone works more or less just like it does at home. (Also, we seem to have entered an era where cell phones really do work all over the place – despite Japan’s notorious CDMA incompatibility, HSPA seems to have fixed everything. Assuming you’re willing to pay extortionate roaming fees, anyway.)

This has proven to be something of a boon for communications, and I strongly encourage anyone traveling with a smartphone to look into it.

It’s 2011. I am often fond of rhetorically asking whether we are living in the future yet. Sitting in a laundromat on the other side of the planet from home, composing a blog post with a wifi access point in my pocket, while the 70-something obasan next to me sends text messages on her phone, I can safely say that in this department at least, yes, we are living in the future.