Although the growth of the mobile internet is a global phenomenon, several urban agglomerations are in East Asian countries that rank particularly high in mobile internet use. Among them is Tokyo, the cradle of mobile internet technology. The constant connectedness to the internet transforms the city and its communities, making them interesting case studies for research on smart communities. In line with Goggin and McLelland’s 2017 call for a more localized perspective on (mobile) internet use, this article critically re-visits the existing theoretical framework on how virtual space influences the city, and it compares findings with anthropological fieldwork the author conducted in Tokyo. The article looks at how mobile phones can be used to interact with established contacts over a distance, connect strangers by forming ‘mobile phone hubs’, and even disconnect the user when the device is used to ‘shield’ oneself from those in the vicinity.