During this past WWW (Work Widow Weekend) I finally dove into the boxes of old letters. Well, one of them anyway, and then one thing led to another and I got rid of a bunch of old junk I’d been keeping simply because I’m a pack rat.Old bank books, expired frequent flyer cards, traveler’s check covers (seriously?) all in the bin. And then much to my dismay, I discovered that my passport had expired six months ago.
It used to be that you could just go to the Embassy and apply for a new one. But noooooooo. Now you have to make an appointment, and according to their online calendar, no appointments are available until the end of February.
I understand. It’s tough for embassy personnel. Between taking all Japanese AND American national holidays off, they also have to make time for long lunches, not answering the phone, and the occasional mani/pedi.
OK, plan B. You can apply by mail. All you need to do is download the application, provide a photo in a size that doesn’t exist here, and get a prepaid return envelope and money order in dollars from the post office. (Catch 22: The embassy will take cash, but won’t give you an appointment to fork it over.) The new passport costs $110 and when the photo, envelope and postage are thrown in, this adventure cost nearly $150. Doesn’t it seem like a new passport should be a right rather than a privilege?
It took an hour and a half to get the money order, with two post office ladies helping me get the paperwork right, but while I was waiting, one of them gave me some lemon drops. That kind of took the edge off.
In the meantime, I can’t leave the country. And when all of that is done, if it ever is, I get to go to immigration, which is conveniently located three trains and a bus ride from here, to have my visa transferred.
I knew I was having too much fun lately.