Friday, June 27, 2008

Getting a 3 Year Renewal Visa

The おしり of Tama Present: How to Fill Out Paperwork and Get Money in Tokyo

Part 1 - Renewing Your Visa, brought to you by elephant ass.

Quick tip! Bring something to read!

Follow up tip! Bring booze.

Renewing your working visa is simple, just bring all the right paperwork and be ready to chill. What paperwork do you need?
  • Your passport and Alien Registration Card... duh.
  • A photocopy of your contract.
  • Your company's brochure. Yeah... a brochure. Ours was colorful and had lots of stock photos of happy multicultural people teaching happy multicultural children. And some pie charts.
  • Some official papers from your company - certificate of employment (在職証明書, zaishoku shōmeisho) and certificate of tax payment (納税証明書, nōzei shōmeisho).
  • If you changed jobs, you need a letter of release and some sort of tax document from your previous employer. The document is called a Rickshaw or something. Well, anyways, it's something with an R.
  • The application form. You can probably print it off the internet.
  • Do you need some photos? I can't remember.

Go to the Shinagawa immigration office. Take the Yamanote line to Shinagawa, then take the 99 bus to the immigration office.

In the immigration office, go to the second floor. Not the red A counter! The other counter area on the left side of the building. There is a short line to wait in, a nice lady will check all your stuff, and give you a number. Wait about 4 hours, your number gets called, you give someone your papers, and leave. 2 weeks later you get a postcard and go back to get your new stamp.

After you get the postcard, go back to the red counter A. You should have:
  • Passport and Alien Registration Card... duh.
  • Postcard
  • A 4000 yen stamp. You can buy these at the Family Mart that is located inside the immigration building. Pick up a can of coffee and Anpanman comic while you're at it.
They will give you a number. Number gets called, get your new stamp. The wait here was about 30 minutes.


A couple personal points. They wanted me to change my visa from Specialist in Humanities to Instructor. This would mean that if I wanted to do other jobs, like my weeknight conversation school, or fake priest at weddings, or before-model for a tattoo removal service, I would have to jump through all kinds of hoops. The Specialist in Humanities is a generic, do anything permit. Try to keep it! Someone who isn't me was told to fill out a change of status form, but refused. Then this person who isn't me was sent to talk with the official who makes the decisions. This guy said, "No," as well. But then when this guy who isn't me went back to the first counter, he said that the offical said it was all good. Gravy. Duck soup. No one called his bluff.

Also, write 3 for how long the extension will last. 3 years is better than 1. It all costs the same.

That's it. If you found this helpful, leave me a comment.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Really? Are You Really Sniffing My Ass?

My collection of Hello Kitty cell phone straps.

私の キーチーちゃんの 携帯電話の ストラプ です。

Aren't they cute?

Oh, the title about smelling my ass? So today I was trying to get some "cool" points with the popular crowd of 3rd graders. At lunch time I pulled out my ipod and started showing off my photos. I showed off motorcycle pictures, pictures of girls I've dated, me dressed up like Batman, all in the hopes of getting them interested in me. By transitive properties of coolness dissipation, if they think I am cool, they will think English is cool. Good logic, right?

Settle down, I'm getting to the ass smelling part.

Out of about 12 boys, they would take turns having 1 or 2 go behind me and smell me. It was just some harmless sniffs near my armpits while the rest of them looked at my ipod. Some of them were getting all up in my pits. I don't sweat much, ever, so maybe it just smelled like my deodorant. I let them have their fun. It's American deodorant, maybe it has a unique smell.

I'm pretty much ignoring this smelling game, but then my kancho sense started tingling. Something was getting near my butt. But this time it wasn't 5 year old fingers, it was a 14 year old nose. Homeboy was trying to sniff my pooper.

I have writer's block now. I think you get the point though. This is what I do for a living.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Tama Zoo

Hello new Tama Zoo friends!

こにちわ 新しい 多摩動物園の 友達!

Don't worry, that's not the last you'll see of my new friends. We are collaborating together to bring you a new blog series:

The おしり (asses) of Tama Present: How to Fill Out Paperwork and Get Money in Tokyo ft. The おしり (asses) of Tama

A comprehensive guide to boring shit that is definitely necessary in Tokyo. Planned writings include, but are not limited to, scamming a 3 year visa, exploiting the unemployment system, getting yelled at by Chinese visa guys with fighting sticks (!), and transferring money from racist ATMs.

Stay tuned...

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Hiking in Oku-tama

Okutama is in the west of Tokyo. There are many mountains and hiking trails. I hiked to Kumotori-san. It was cloudy.

奥多摩は 東京の 西です。 たくさん 山 と ハイクングの 道 です。 私は 雲取山に 行きました。 雲が ありました。

The hike starts with a 1000m climb. If you start at the opposite end of the hike (as my Lonley Planet Hiking in Japan book recommends) you can take a rope way up to the ridge.

Ready for some advice? Not that I made any mistakes, but you can learn from my mistakes. Mistakes I didn't make. Learning experiences...

Don't do a ridge hike in cloudy, overcast weather. The point of hiking up 3000 feet is to see the views. Although if you hike really really fast, then stop, you will see... things. So if you can't see the views, my advice is to create some good hallucinations.

Remember either:
  1. A watch
  2. A flashlight
Hiking in the dark is adventurous, and dangerous.

There are usually bus stops at the trail heads. Assume that when it's dark, the buses go to sleep. Because that's what they do. Hitch hiking is fine, but in over an hour walking on the road, only 2 cars passed my way.

More advice? Soba is delicious.

There are huts on the mountains you can sleep in. Some charge around 3000yen a night, others, dubbed "Emergency Huts" are free. You will also run across old dwellings, decaying in their unused old age. I found one, and while exploring it...

Yeah, baby toys. If you want to have your soul eaten by a ghost baby in the night, feel free to set up camp.

The emergency huts are actually really really nice. Room for about 10 people, and it smelled like cedar inside. No ghost babies either.

To get to 奥多摩 Okutama, take the 中央 Chuo line from 新宿 Shinjuku to 立川 Tachikawa, then take the 青梅 Ome line to 青梅 Ome, then take another line to 奥多摩 Okutama. There are lots of hikes in the area, visit the local information center, near the station, for information and maps. If you have a motorcycle, this area is prime riding!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Unrelated Events: Umeshu, Tea Parties, and Blood


A swell blog Blue Lotus gave a recipe for 梅酒 (umeshu), a kind of booze we drink in Japan. It's 梅酒 season now, so here's the attempt. Takes about a year to get good. Yeah, it was a boring day. FYI, 梅酒 is tasty and really cheap at restaurants, which makes me question why I just spent $30 on raw materials to make about $15 worth of booze.

This car doesn't run on gasoline, it runs on concentrated cuteness. By which I mean "me vomiting a little in my mouth." Which is code for good times.

i-what now? This medically sealed box contained actors demonstrating the use of the Windows-touch cell phone. Actors using the time honored tradition of mime.

Just when you thought it couldn't get more awesome than a live advertisement for some bullshit... the dancing begins.

The best (only good) part was that there were like 100 people seriously watching this spectacle, taking mental notes. The only people laughing at it all were the foreigners.

Why was I in Tokyo Midtown? TMT as the cool people call it? Afternoon tea at the Ritz Carlton!



fuckity fuck?

I have a friend who organizes tea events in Tokyo. To sum it up, drinking tea and eating cake. This is how the other half live, folks.

What is the panacea for ultra high blood sugar levels? Reduce that shit!

I was excited. June 14th was worldwide blood donation day. It has been about 5 years since I gave blood. Why?

またはいれずみ.... gotta wait for at least a year after getting tattoos.

Hello Kitty wants your blood!

The Shinjuku blood donation center has special events. You can get palm reading, 10 minute massages, and hair and nail treatments on certain days.

So after negotiating the standard questions (do you sleep with dudes, stick needles full of drugs into your veins, travel to Africa frequently...) I was ready to go. Then...then...then...

They god damn rejected me.

Cause I'm not fluent in Japanese.

Even though I had a friend with me who could translate.

They gave me some free rice crackers as a parting gift for coming in though.

~The End~

Monday, June 09, 2008

Akihabara, June 9th

It's so tragic, to think that someone who identified with the Akihabara culture, a young man who's only possessions were, apparently, some games and doujin manga, could make a choice this wrong.

Some relevant links:
Chris Salzberg
Japan Probe Writeup
Patrick Macias
Tomohiro Kato Writeup at Japan Probe

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Today's Questions from my 13 Year Old Students

There's a total of five 1st grade classes, five 2nd grade classes, and five 3rd grade classes between the two Junior High Schools I'm at. I've been doing intro lessons for the past couple weeks. Part of the lesson is to let the kids ask any sort of questions they want. So far:
  • What Japanese food do you like?
  • What is your shoe size?
  • Do you have a girlfriend?
Totally typical questions. Until today.
  • What is your complex?
I had no idea what this meant, he had written complex in katakana as コンプレクス. I asked what his complex was. He replied, with a smirk, "Siscon". Two and two was beginning to come together. Another (boy) said, "Lolicon" and "Mazacon". Do I play dumb and act like I don't understand? Of course, "siscon" is a sister complex, "mazacon" is the mother complex, and "lolicon" is an unhealthy obsession with lolitas, underage girls.

"I don't have any complex" was the answer. It pays to have a safe answer for every situation.
  • What is your catch?
This one took some after class discussion. A "catch" is a hook, a draw, a feature on the opposite sex which is a turn on.

Safety answer = "The eyes".

So I put it to you, dear readers, what is your complex? Follow up question, what is your catch?