Tuesday, May 15, 2007

trip to immigration

My friend in Korea is getting married but as a quasi-member of this society I currently reside in, I had to go to the immigration office today to get permission to travel. Although I find it kind of weird that I can't travel internationally unless I get permission, thats the way things roll, so thats what I went to go do. I woke up a little late, because I had a special day off and wouldnt be going to work today. The sky was getting darker, even though it was day, so I decided I should rush to the station before it began to rain. And thats when the sky decided to down pour. Litteral buckets of rain smashing down. Heres a direct link to a 7MB (I didnt have space on my card, so its lo-res) quicktime video of the rain turning some stairs into an urban waterfall. My socks, and pants were totally soaked. Well, I got on the train and head to the immigration office in Shinagawa... and since this wasnt my first time, I got the required "revenue stamp" at a convenience store before going up to the immigration office. For some reason, they wont take cash and require these special stamps but dont post any information about it. So a lot of people just wait forever and get upfront and are told they cant be helped with out the stamps, or that was my experience anyway my first time there. Today I heard some lady complaining on her phone in English about how she wasnt sure what to do but she was just waiting anyway. When she got off the phone, I asked her if she had revenue stamps, and explained what they were... and immediately like flys attracted to sugar water, I was swamped with several other inexperienced foreigners who wanted more details. I also noticed that English speaking foreigners are noisy. While I ended up waiting for about 2 and a half hours, I noticed that a baby crying in one corner and the white guy talking to his wife on the other side of the room had about the same level of vocal output. Who would have thunk it. So after the loooong wait, I go up to the counter and say almost nothing, hand over my passport and get the permit in literal seconds. You'd think it would be more efficient if it was built into my visa, instead of requiring me to wait for it. But oh well, thats bureaucracy. As I walked out of the office, the sun was beaming bright on the freshly bathed earth as if signally a movie-style change in moods.
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