Posts Tagged gaijin card

November 15, 2006 part 2 – Goodbye Japan

After a busy morning, I had lunch with The Penpal and her family at their house. They wanted to come to the airport with me to see me off.

We took the shinkansen from Mishima to Tokyo, switched to Yamanote Line briefly (which is not fun with giant suitcases), and took the Keisei Skyliner from Nippori to the airport. The Skyliner is cheaper than the Narita Express, but the Express is much more convenient if you have large bags.

Check-in went smoothly, leaving enough time to sit and chat before I went through security. Over the past few years, I have gone from being the overseas friend to gaijin boyfriend to gaijin fiancee, and eventually part of the family. I’m really going to miss my future in-laws and I’m excited about showing them around Canada in the future.

I told them that in Canada there is a lot more crying at the airport when someone leaves. The Penpal’s father told me that Japanese people cry too, they just hold it until they get home. He gave me a handshake (not a bow), I hugged The Penpal’s mother, then hugged my wonderful fiancee before going through security. I will always remember seeing them waving goodbye as I took the escalator down to the immigration area.

At immigration, I had to turn in my gaijin card and they cancelled my visas and remaining re-entry stamps. I had dutifully carried my gaijin card everywhere for the past 3 years, so it was strange to leave it behind permanently. My 3 year adventure was over, and it was a fantastic experience I wouldn’t trade for anything. Good bye Japan, and thanks for the memories!

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January 6, 2005 – Back in Japan

I left Winnipeg on January 5, 2005. Due to the international date line, I landed at Narita Airport on January 6.

When I first arrived in Japan in September 2003, it took me about 90 minutes to get through immigration and customs. Now that I am a legal resident of Japan, I can use my gaijin card to enter the “resident of Japan” lanes which are much faster than the “foreigner” lanes. It took me only a few minutes to get through both immigration and customs. I love my gaijin card!

I took the Narita Express to Tokyo station, and then took the Shinkansen to Mishima. At Mishima I took a regular Tokaido line train to Numazu. The Narita Express goes to and from the airport, so there is a lot of good storage space for luggage. The Shinkansen doesn’t have the same ample space, so traveling with a large suitcase can be challenging. Tokaido line is simply not fun with a large suitcase.

At Numazu station I caught a taxi to take me back to my apartment. Thanks to previous experiences, I am now fairly capable at communicating where I want to go with taxi drivers. It was a long day of travel, but it was good to be back at my second home.

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November 17, 2004 – Shopping in Kawasaki

My alien registration card (aka gaijin card) was set to expire, so I returned to the immigration office in Kawasaki city to get it renewed. Since I am getting quite good at navigating the immigration office, the whole experience went pretty well. I do have to go to Numazu City hall to update my address.

While in the area, I went to the Yodobashi camera near Kawasaki station and bought myself a really cool new toy. It is an up-scan converter called XRGB-2 plus. It allows me to connect all kinds of devices to a computer monitor.

My room in Numazu is small and kind of awkward shaped. I no longer have room for both a TV and a computer monitor. The upscan converter will let me connect my PS2, VCR, and computer to my computer monitor, and sends the sound out through my stereo. It’s pretty cool!

On the way home there were some delays on Tokaido line for reasons that I couldn’t understand from the announcements. The line was stopped and I ended up getting home an hour and a half later than expected on a VERY crowded train.

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August 31, 2004 – Gyukaku and Homestar Runner

In the morning I went to the immigration office to update my alien registration card (aka gaijin card). All foreign residents of Japan are required to carry their gaijin cards around at all times, and to keep the information up to date. Failing to do so would be a bad idea.

In the afternoon I went shopping with Zoe, who is also enjoying a day off. We went to Yodobashi Camera to inquire about internet connections. Unfortunately it would have taken a month to get hooked up, leaving me with only about a month of internet before the expected date of my transfer. At this point it’s really not worthwhile to go through the trouble. While in Yodobashi, I resisted the urge to buy a DVD burner, but I did end up getting some cool futon covers and a new pillow.

In the evening Zoe, Lux and I went to Gyukaku again and then spent time watching Homestar Runner. My mini-holiday is now over.


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