Welcome to the latest episode of our beloved drama “Fun With Immigration”. You know that I finished my paperwork last Wednesday, and I did not expect anything to happen within at least a week, if not two.

envelope of the letter from immigration officeBut, lo and behold: This morning I found a letter from the Immigration Office on my doorstep. I was excited and nervous – but also a bit suspicious, as it was not my self-addressed envelope I had to give them together with all the other papers.

The letter – all in Japanese, of course – asked me to bring a single photograph, 3×4 cm, not more than three months old to replace the photograph that was on my application form, which was older than three months (about 2.5 years, actually) and thus could not be used. How on earth they found that out? Well, the first time I was there I was asked if they could make a copy of my passport and the photo in the passport and on the application form are identical. Note that the passport copy was NOT on the list of required documents, hence I thought I could get away with it… (This incident reminds me of a similar one in another country where I was asked to provide a new birth certificate because my original one was “too old”…)

So, once again, I went to the Immigration Office this morning, used their photo booth which is conveniently located in front of the entrance and handed them a brand new photograph, less than ten minutes old. I just hope this will do the trick…In any case, the day was not entirely wasted, as I have found out the following things:

  1. They are actually working on my visa!
  2. The government says “jump” you ask “how high?”
  3. In Japan, people (at least foreign ones) age beyond recognition within three months.
  4. Whenever I have photos taken, I’ll better start making the effort and wear makeup…