Posted in Slice of Life

Too Busy To Even Do Laundry

Whoa boy! What a Golden Week.

I finished up my training for work. Yay! Which means I now have to work. Yay? Kind of yay. I’m getting used to it. Now that I’m back into eikaiwa work, it’s odd to try and teach all ages again. And I gotta get used to the program this company uses, too. The books for each level, the specific process for the classes, and so on and so forth are all new with a side of confusing.

But let’s get back to that later (like tomorrow).

I also ended up doing the Tokyo Rainbow Pride planning and volunteering for Stonewall Japan. I decided to step down as Vice President, as I believe I mentioned before, so now I’m Kanto East Block Leader. I will mostly be making events happen in Tokyo in the near future as well as posting other people’s events to the Facebook page, but there are also many other responsibilities.

The planning process for TRP took some time. L____ the VP, P____ the Treasurer, and myself all got together on Google Hangouts to discuss ideas for the event for a couple of hours. Once we got our ideas finalized, we had a couple of weeks to get our projects done. As I was still in job training, that meant I needed to find free time with a super limited budget in order to get my materials for my project.

I didn’t really succeed. My “plan” was to buy Polaroid film for a camera, borrow my roommates camera, and have an album frame a la Instagram so people could take a picture home with them. As it turns out, the film costs 1,000 yen for a pack of 10 sheets. At 100 yen a sheet, I couldn’t afford to buy over 10,000 yen worth of sheets for this big event. I ended up just making the frame, which was cute and everyone loved it, but I just wished I could’ve afforded those sheets.

But in between all of these activities, I also needed to get my visa things sorted before May 1st. See, during Golden Week there were two days in which I could go to immigration to change my visa from an Instructor to a Humanities visa. I also needed to send off a self-addressed stamped envelope to my old city for tax information, which I didn’t realize was necessary for changing a status, but whatever. I got that done, it came in the mail after about a week.

I was a nervous wreck at the visa office. I was number 964, which meant 964 people had come in line before me. NOT GOOD. I had arrived at 11:00 a.m. in case you’re thinking I must’ve arrived later in the day. I knew, I just KNEW I should’ve arrived at opening time, but I just didn’t have the gumption in the morning to get up and get moving. Regrets, I have them!

Every hour that passed I was panicking. What if I can’t get my visa things done today? What if I have to come back? There were so many people around me standing because all the seats were taken. I could hear the window people getting yelled at by people who didn’t bring their passport copies, demanding that the employees make an exception for them. I could also overhear various people wondering if it mattered that they didn’t bring their university degree copy. OF COURSE IT DOES!!

Basically, it took over seven hours before my visa papers were finally submitted to the slowest receptionist available at the visa immigration office. She refused to rush, getting each paper a look over, then stamping in certain places, then going to get a different sheet of paper, and looking over it again- WOMAN JUST GIVE ME MY TEMPORARY NUMBER PLEASE!!

Finally, at 18:15, I got out of there. Now I have to wait two weeks or more to get a new visa. Luckily with eikaiwa work I’ll be off on one weekday in a week, so I’ll be able to go get it (pending approval) sometime soon.

All these different things kind of happening all at the same time means my laundry just kind of piled up around the apartment. I now live with a roommate [X] and we don’t currently have a washer. We do have a coin laundry just down the street, but with everything else going on and with the rainy season coming a bit early, it’s been a while since I’ve had a good day to do it.

Today will be that day. Tomorrow I want to talk about the new eikaiwa job, and then a little later I want to write about Tokyo Rainbow Pride 2018. I want to say a lot of things about TRP2018, but I need to collect my thoughts before I do. Until next time!

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Posted in Japan News, Uncategorized

Don’t Get Excited: Permanent Residency is Still a Pain to Get

The Japanese government has recently decided to let permanent residency become a little bit easier for “highly skilled foreign professionals.” There is now a “one year fast track” to permanent residency status for certain (i.e. very, very specific) people that the government wants to appeal to so it can have enough qualified employees (to actually make the Olympics a success-I mean, be seen as more international).

What is a “highly skilled professional?” Well, the immigration website gives three distinctive categories of people.

  1. Advanced Academics: People who do “activities engaging in research, research guidance or education based on a contract entered into with a public or private organization in Japan.” In other words, they’re looking for professors or heads of a field, this wouldn’t apply to students.
  2. Advanced Specialized/Technical Researchers: They’re defined as “activities of engaging in work requiring specialized knowledge or skills in the field of natural sciences or humanities based on a contract entered into with a public or private organization in Japan.” Basically, scientists and researchers.
  3. Advanced Business Managers: Those who “engage in the operation or management of a public or private organization in Japan.” In other words, business people, but not the every day salaryman. They’re looking for the higher level individuals.

Even if you’re one of these HSP’s, you’ll need to go find out if you’ve equaled out to the 70 points required for permanent residency. First of all, do you have a PhD or a MBA? Because that’s the first thing on the list of need to knows in order to get points. Only the specialized and technical researchers can have a BA.

From there, the point system gets kind of stringent. Anywhere from 40 points to only 10 points based on annual salary and age. There are bonus points for certain qualifications or current employment sectors, and then 15 points devoted to Japanese Language Proficiency, but only for the fluent level (N1). There are no points given for any of the lower levels.

In other words, although the news is welcome for people who already have a high salary and are fluent in Japanese, nothing about this system would welcome the average foreigner living in Japan (as in, someone studying in Japan or people with BA’s being ALTs). These people will have to do things the hard way, living in Japan for over 10 years before being allowed to have permanent residency, or marrying someone who is Japanese. Unfortunately, it’s a fast track only for those already on the high track.