- Japan (07, 09-10, 13), Denmark (08, 11, 16-19), Korea (13), France (08), Thailand (09), China (10), Mexico (14, 15, 19), Iceland (17, 19), Hawaii (14, 17), Prague (16, 17, 19)
The above will search this blog.


“All my bags are packed, I’m ready to go…”

Any John Denver fans out there? I’m not really one either, but this line from “Leaving On A Jet Plane” popped into my head when I was trying to think of a title for today’s post. You see, I’ll be heading to the airport for my move to Japan one week from today! Everything is lining up nicely. We are about 80-90% packed, the visas arrived quicker than anticipated, and yesterday we finally found a renter for our home while we are gone.

Getting a visa for Japan went smoother than predicted. Originally they said it would take eight weeks to get a “Certificate of Eligibility” (COE) from the powers that be in Tokyo. That was eight weeks before we were originally supposed to leave (today). So we moved our departure date back a week to August 13. The COE was actually completed in about four weeks according to the date on it. Unfortunately it sat on someone’s desk (either in the administration or at Waseda University where it was sent to) for more than two weeks before I was told it could be sent to me. In any event, I received it on July 27, two weeks and three days before departure. I then had to send the COEs with visa applications, more passport photos, our passports, and a self-addressed, stamped, priority-mail envelope to the Consulate General of Japan in Portland, Oregon (since I live 5+ hours away from Portland–most people probably drive it there). They said it would take a week to process plus postal time so I figured Priority Mail would be fine. They lied. It didn’t take a week. They processed the visas in a single day and mailed them back to me. The passports with visas in them arrived the same week I sent them on August 1. Sometimes it doesn’t pay to pay for overnight delivery. Overnight delivery of the COEs took four days, priority mail on the visas–both ways–only took a day or two.

Finding a tenant for our home wasn’t as smooth a process, but I think we found a really good one in the end. Better late than never.

2 Responses to ““All my bags are packed, I’m ready to go…””

  1. 1

    Did you receive the COEs from a japanese travel agency contracted by your university to set up your travel arrangements? Because if so, that explains the two-week delay. Part of my job is taking care of the visa paperwork for new teachers and about a year ago we started sending the COEs ourselves using express mail because in the old system, we would hand them off to the travel agency who – as you said – would leave them sitting on their desks for two weeks or more before finally sending them via a convoluted system of intra-company international mail from the japanese branch to the american branch, leaving the recipients anxious and biting their nails as their departure date neared.

    Now, what used to take two weeks plus literally only takes us 2 days when we send it via EMS (international priority) ourselves. The travel company wasn’t too happy when we started doing it ourselves (they lost out on that extra bit they could bill us for) but it’s hard to argue with 2 weeks versus 2 days.

    Anyway, I’ve been reading back through some of your blog and it looks like you’re all set for a great time here! I can’t wait to read about your adventures!

    p.s. I really enjoyed your photos of the open air museum in Hakone 🙂

  2. 2

    There was no travel agency involved. It was just Waseda and the Japanese government. My guy at Waseda said they got lost in the mail for two+ weeks. I doubt that. I’m guessing they went to the wrong person at Waseda who was on summer break or something and no one bothered to look for them in that person’s inbox until I asked Waseda if they had received them yet.

    Thanks for the compliment on the photos. I really like your sky shots. A partially cloudy sky is my favorite subject as well. Here are some:

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