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China’s Tokyo Embassy (The Craziest Place on Earth)

Imagine the worst DMV on the planet. Now put that DMV on steroids. And not good steroids, that make things work better, but steroids that do nothing but multiply all the things that make a trip to the DMV loathable.

The first thing you will notice at the Chinese Embassy is that you wait in line to go through security at the front door even though the security is fake. There are two security guards and a metal detector at the door. However, the metal detector goes off for more than half the people that go through it, and the guards do nothing but waive such people by. One guard asked to look through my backpack. I handed it to him. He cracked one of the three zippers and then handed it back. I could have had a gun in each of the three zippered sections (it was heavy enough as I had a book in one section and a camera in another, as well as other things), and he wouldn’t have caught them.

The place where all visas are handled is three stories high. The first level was crowded with people in various lines. I somehow figured out that I should be on the third level for my visa and was happy to leave the madness of the first level behind…

…until I got to the third level which was far worse. This 3rd floor room should never have more than about 60 people in it. On my first time there there were well over 100 people. There are lines on the 3rd floor to get numbers to get in more lines, lines to use the copy machine, lines to ask questions without a number, and more lines. People were packed in here like it was a train at rush hour. After waiting in a line of 20+ people to get a number I was told to make a copy of all of my documents. I then got in line to use the copy machine. When I got to the front of the copy machine line I found that it only takes 10 yen coins, of which I had zero. Luckily, the lady next to me gave me one. Eventually my number was called, and I was told to come back in three days to pick up my visa.

I did come back three days later as instructed, waited to get in, went through the fake security again (setting off the alarm again but was told to keep going anyway), waited in one line (Line 4) on the first floor for a while until I got close enough to the front to see the above sign, and then switched lines (to Line 6). I waited in that line only to find out that I had to go back to the third floor first. On the third floor I waited in the line to ask questions and was told to wait in the line to get a number. After waiting in the line to get a number, I waited for my number to be called. After handing over a receipt I was then told to go back to the first floor. There I waited in Line 6 where I was told to put 15,000 yen (almost $200) into a vending machine before waiting in Line 4 again. So I waited in line to put my money in a vending machine. Then I waited in Line 4 and finally received my visa to visit China.

2 Responses to “China’s Tokyo Embassy (The Craziest Place on Earth)”

  1. 1

    What a hoot! I thought we were bad here! I hope you don’t lose your visa and have to do this all over again. Have a great trip!

  2. 2

    What a nightmare. Tough lesson learned, I guess… Joe and I just got our Chinese visas, as well. We would have had to make two trips to Osaka to get them ourselves — first to drop off the passports, and then again to pick them up. Since that’s not so convenient, we had to go through a travel agency to do it for us, and their fee effectively doubled the cost of the visa. So you’ve gotta pay either way. Both our visas together equaled the cost of a plane ticket. Oof! I pray that everything goes smoothly once we’re there!