Jan 26, 2005

We have visa

After months of garbled communications via FAX and contradictory instructions on completing the reams of necessary documentation, Rie is now a soon-to-be immigrant. We had our interview at the embassy on Monday, I waited an hour in the cold today before passing through outer-gate security, and now the immigrant visa is ours. Or hers.

Considering all the hassles along the way, the process monday was relatively painless. The staff was also fairly friendly, although the consular officer for our case amused us by munching on snacks through the entire interview - a little slice of American office decorum in Japan.

Not everyone was as lucky as us, though. One couple was sent home because the visa applicant, a non-Japanese, had let her Japan visa expire and is thus already of illegal status. Oops. Other couples were called up to revise paperwork several times. Ours was a cakewalk in comparison.

Oh, I almost forgot. We did run into a little trouble on monday.

Rie brought her requisite two passport photos uncut from the photo sheet, since no prior instructions were given to separate them. So when they tell us the pics need to be cut, she found a kind, if somewhat frazzled, Japanese staff member to locate some scissors for us. Once the deed was done, I sauntered over to the locked security booth from whence came the borrowed scissors and held them up to the window to indicate "We're finished!" The guard inside points me in the opposite direction, so I returned to our seat and asked Rie for her interpretation of the signal.

Literally seconds later, a pair of camouflage pantlegs materialize at the right edge of my visual field. I look up to find a U.S. Marine - cap positioned snugly at eyebrow level - staring down at me. "What are you doing there?" He must have asked me something like that with an insinuating glance toward the scissors potential tool of death, because I responded that we had borrowed the implement for the express purpose of trimming passport photos. "What, are you guys travel agents?" he asked next. Not yet aware that window #10 was labeled "Travel Agents," this question struck me as completely goofy. "No, we're here for the same reason as everyone else," I told him, and waited for the next question. The marine turned around and left without another word.

So now we're basically set to go. No date fixed yet, but expect us back in the states in April.


At 1/26/2005 1:09 PM, Blogger John said...


Sounds like the hardest part is over...besides the actually moving of stuff and yourselves overseas.

You must visit Chicago shortly after your return, after you recovered from jet lag, that is. We need you awake and alert for fun, fun, FUN! :)

Either that, or we can all meet up in NYC and romp around there...

At 1/27/2005 12:08 AM, Blogger Mel said...

Congratulations on your perseverence. & Yay!

At 1/27/2005 1:14 AM, Blogger Safety Neal said...

That's hilarious about the marine. Good thing you aren't of Arabic extraction, though...


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