A Passport Tale

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.PENTAX DIGITAL CAMERAOld 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.

PENTAX DIGITAL CAMERASo now I will entrust my expired passport to the Japanese postal system, the American embassy, the US passport office in Philadelphia, and possibly the Postal Fairy (see May 24 last year).

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.


6 thoughts on “A Passport Tale”

  1. Hi,

    I am wondering what kind of Visa that permits you to live in Japan for decades cause if I remember correctly you have been living there since the 90s ?

Any opinions about that? I love to hear from you.

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