Posts Tagged taxi

December 15, 2004 – Immigration office master

My Weezer shirt that I bought in Harajuku

My Weezer shirt that I bought in Harajuku

Today I went to the immigration office in Shinyurigaoka to get my re-entry permit for my passport. I now feel pretty confident in my skills at navigating the immigration office, and can usually be in and out in about 10 minutes.

Like most people, my work visa expires after a certain period of time (one year for me), and will also expire if I leave the country. To prevent the visa from expiring when I go home, I needed to buy a re-entry permit. The permits are available as one time permits or unlimited times for the period of one year. Since I am only planning to leave Japan and return once in the next year, I bought the cheaper one time permit.

Immigration officers are not allowed to handle cash directly, which is a nice way to prevent anything shady from happening. I had to go to a small convenience store in the same building to buy a voucher for a re-entry stamp. I then returned to the immigration office, where they exchanged the voucher for a sticker in my passport.

After finishing up at the immigration office, I spent most of my day exploring some cool stores in Shinjuku, Shibuya, and Harajuku. I bought some books for my flight home at Kinokuniya, and a cool Weezer shirt in Harajuku.

In the evening, I met up with Okonomi in Noborito. We went out for Okonomiyaki for dinner and then went to karaoke. Since I was traveling back to Numazu, it was a much more reserved karaoke experience that the last time. After karaoke I gathered up all of the Christmas presents that I couldn’t bring home on my shopping trip to Asakusa, and then returned to Numazu. It was a fun day, but the highlight was explaining to a taxi driver at Numazu station where I lived in Japanese, and having him drive me to the right place!

If you have only ever spoken one language, this doesn’t sound like much of an accomplishment, but trust me, it felt great.

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Return to Japan 2013: July 6 – departure

imageWhen you stay up too late packing, 5am comes way too quickly. In a zombie like state I called for a taxi and took all of my stuff out to the curb to wait. Doing this I completely forgot to take out the garbage, which was one of the key thing to do before I left.

The taxi driver was a young Indian man who was very chatty. His father owns the cab and drives during the day. The son gets to drive at night which allows the taxi to make money all day. He had just finished a typical Friday night shift of picking up and dropping off drunk people. If you ever want to get an idea of what your city is really like at night, talk to a taxi driver.

At the airport a young man blatantly cut his way ahead in the security line. Nobody said anything, either due to extreme politeness or because it was 6:00am and everyone was too tired. I hope he got “randomly selected” for extra screening.

My first flight was Winnipeg to Vancouver. Unfortunately it was too cloudy to see the Rocky Mountains from the airplane. If you ever get a chance to fly over the Rockies make sure you have a window seat. It really gives you a good perspective on how massive (and pointy) the mountains are.

After landing in Vancouver, I had a 4 hour wait before my flight to Tokyo. It’s nice to have some time to relax in an airport, but 4 hours is a bit too long, especially with a shitty free wi-fi connection. There are only so many times you can look at duty free stores that sell the same products.

Finally the boarding started and I got to jam myself into a tiny window seat for the 10 hour flight to Tokyo. Shortly after takeoff we got our dinner. The choice was beef or chicken. I chose beef and got served the saddest looking gyudon that I had ever seen (as seen above). I have flown across the Pacific Ocean with Air Canada 8 times before so I didn’t have terribly high expectations, but this was the worst airplane food I can remember.

During my 10 hour flight I managed to get about 2 hours of sleep, ate two forgettable meals, and watched Argo (great), Quiz Show (good) and Identity Thief (okay). Other than the food and lack of sleep, the flight was good and landed about 20 minutes early. The adventure on the ground picks up in the next post.

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