Japanese consumer to be the first in the world to own an iPhone4?

Watching the sun set, and rise, while waiting for the latest Apple product is increasingly a rite of passage for fanboys world-wide. Predictably, the snaking queues have already started to form in Tokyo, ahead of the Thursday launch of the iPhone 4. Outside a Softbank cellphone store in Tokyo’s Harajuku neighborhood, Ryunoske Sakai, 34, a self-proclaimed “tweet jockey,” arrived at 3.30 p.m. Tuesday. Behind him are Yuta Kami, a 21-year-old college student, and Manabu Ishiyama, 28, who works in sales. These three gentlemen could be among the first consumers anywhere in the world to smudge an iPhone 4. It goes on sale in Japan, the U.S., the United Kingdom, France and Germany on June 24, and the time difference gives Japan an edge.

Taking turns to make toilet breaks and convenience-store runs while they wait, the three men have developed some camaraderie and say they plan to stay in touch. The party scene will only get better as night falls, the line grows longer and people start socializing.