A pot pourri of topics this week. Later, we take a step back in time with two readers hoping to re-establish connections from the past. But first, a decidedly modern topic: upgrading to the iPhone 5 with Softbank.

"Softbank just rejected my friend, a customer that has used their phone and service for two whole years, from upgrading to a new iPhone 5," writes an angry reader. "The reason was that her visa needed to be renewed in August 2014. (If she had a Japanese driver's license they may have let her, but she does not drive.)

"When she signed up in 2011 she had a three-year visa. Now, after using their service and paying promptly for two years, with no problems, she wanted to get a newer phone.