LA and Back Again, The Short Tale of a Japanese Visa


Yesterday, I went to the Japanese Consulate to get a Visa.

That pic above was waiting at the airport to go to Los Angeles. This woman was typing furiously on a device which I thought must be a a Blackberry or similar. Upon closer inspection, it was this:


Yahtzee! Who said women don’t play games?

I arrived to the Japanese Consulate super early, in fact they weren’t even open yet. I had to wait around an hour, so I went outside and wandered around looking for something to eat. Found a Starbucks and my favorite breakfast food.


I’m sure a bagel and cream-cheese has the vitamin and caloric content or a sheet of cardboard covered in potato chips, but I could care less. I honestly hate coffee, I never understand why I drink the vile stuff, it never works at waking me up (I woke up at 5AM, which is never a good idea) and it tastes awful. I made sure to chase it with a Red Bull just to be sure.


While the caffeine and taurine slowly worked its way through my veins I was able to stare at a very pretty Christmas display thing. Behind it was a fountain display thing (like at the Bellagio, but much smaller) for about an hour. Perfect timing. I headed back to the Japanese Consulate.

I took a number and waited 30 minutes for the magical people behind the windows to really open (all Embassies/Consulates are like this. The building opens, but then the employees drink coffee behind closed windows for 30 minutes until they decide they really want to work. It must be a union thing).

When my number was called, I went to the window and handed over a stack of papers (it’s always better to go to an Embassy or Consulate with tons of papers they don’t but might need, just in case; and always make 3 copies of everything before you bring it as well) and my passport. The man behind the window sifted through the papers, took what he needed and told me to come back in 5 hours.

5 hours? That’s just enough time to make me not do anything interesting. That section of LA is nearby to um… not much. So I retired to their library:


That’s a terrible picture unless you can read the 図書館 on the wall. Anyway, they had a pretty decent library on Japanese stuff there. Unfortunately, no 漫画 Manga so I couldn’t catch up on One Piece, but I made do. I pulled out my laptop and went through about 600 SRS reps in Anki 🙂

Went to lunch at Panda Express just to feel rebellious. That and it was right next to the Consulate.

Long story short, 6 hours later, I went back and got this:


That’s a Visa to Japan. Well, the upper-left part of one (without any important numbers and such). You have no idea how much work it took to get this. If you’ve heard me referring to Bureaucracy recently, this was a part of it. I’ve had to fill out more paperwork in the past 6 months than I have in my entire life just to get this (including getting a new Birth Certificate because my previous one was too old! 🙂 ). So I guess I should explain my intention.

I’m moving to Japan on December 14 and attending a private Japanese language school for about a year. Now, before a few of you starting yelling at me and saying, ‘But you already know Japanese really well! You review AJATT stuff! You use Anki and SRS!’ All true. However…

To work on my speaking skills, I need more Japanese people to hang out with. I figure there are a few more people in Tokyo than there are in Phoenix. There are about 15 Japanese people total in the desert of Arizona. Oh yeah, and my Japanese fiancee (who I met while living in Hungary) lives in Tokyo. Don’t forget that. 😉

And don’t worry, I’ll still be working on Arvale while I’m there too. 😉 I’m announcing a release date this week actually.

Eating Right, Excercise, and Japanese Sea Aliens: Keys to a Healthy Life in Japan