Sunday, March 27, 2011

going to Takasaki from Kiryu by bicycle to change my visa

It was one of the most tiring things I've ever done.


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A distance of about 21 miles (33kms), by bicicle, because the trains are either too few, or not running at all, because of the earthquake.

I had to go because the company I'm going to work for (Rakuten) told me if I didn't apply to change my visa about that day, I'd probably not be able to get it in time to work for them... So I was obviously desperate.
I had to change my visa from "student", to "Engineer/Technician".

These are some pictures I took while going from Kiryu To Takasaki (both cities in Gunma prefecture, Japan).

From the juku I was working part-time while in college. I used to teach elementary, junior high, and high school students English. The girl in the flag is so cute^^.
You can see the mountains, which really made me feel I was in Gunma (it's known for being the country side...)


 The you are entering Takasaki sign.


 Takasaki's roads are so much better than Kiryu's... My bike just keep breaking (getting flat tires mostly) because of them.
 Some bike road
 Some bridge being cloned.



 Another juku of the same chain I was working for. It was the first time I saw another of them...

Some cute Japanese girls

 The JR Maebashi train station. Empty because now that we have almost no electricity (after the earthquake) trains are going like once every 3,4 hours... if you're lucky and your local station wasn't too damaged.


As you can see, I was going pretty easy. I had no idea what kind of a horrible day it was soon going to become...

I arrived to Takasaki in about 2 hours 40 mins. A lot sooner than what I expected, taking into account the convenience store breaks, and the time it took me fixing my bike.

I got in line in the immigration office (Takasaki Regional Immigration Bureau) like more than 1 hour before they even opened (they open at 9am).
And that's when the nightmare began...

They called my number.
I tell the lady something like "I'd like to change my visa.", gave her the documents.
And out of nowhere, she answered me in a very rude way "You can't apply with these documents! There's nothing to prove you have graduated from this college!" (it doesn't sound too bad in English, but in Japanese you have to refer to people you don't know well in a polite form she wasn't using)

Still, I took it easy. Being that I'm foreign, and many foreigners don't even understand basic Japanese, I thought she was just trying to sound clear to me.
And I went along: "I really need to get these papers done by today. Would it be possible to call the University or hand over a copy of my college ID for the time being? I assure you I'll bring the papers I don't have right now by tomorrow... "
Ugly woman from immigration goes: "No! Not possible! Bring papers from your college... where is it?... Oh Kiryu, go back to Kiryu and bring them over"
Me: "I'd really much like to do that, however due to the earthquake's impact, as you know, trains have been stopped, I came here by bicycle running over 20miles, and taking over 3 hours just because of this. "
Ugly damn woman: "Then good luck going back to Kiryu by bicycle! It should take you 6 hours so you can still do it, we'll be open till 4pm"

I repeat, I can't really express in English how rude she sounded, but believe me, she was!
I've lived in Japan for about 6 years. And I've never been treated in such a displeasing/rude/bitchy way. I was about to kill her with my bare hands.
I'm so going to send a complain letter.

Anyway, I just gave her a homicidal look, and hurried back to Kiryu.

This woman had no idea who she was talking with.
I came to Japan just to get a cute Japanese girlfriend for god's sake.
Telling me to run 40miles just to get some documents was like the easiest thing for me.
The things, her attitude is not fit as someone who has to talk to people all day long. Hell with those manners, I don't think she's even fit to live in a society (in a Japanese society at least, she'd be in home in China probably).

Going back to Kiryu, I was so pissed off and not concentrating in the way, I got the wrong way and arrived to Ota. And by then, it was like really windy, so I really lost some valuable time.

I was "lucky", my graduation ceremony was cancelled as a sign of respect to all the people who died in the earthquake. And the needed documents were the graduation certificate, and my grades certificate, which were both going to be given to me that day together with my bachelor's degree!

I arrived at about 1pm to Kiryu. Got the documents, and headed back to Takasaki...
With that wind and being that tired I probably wouldn't be able to arrive in time, so I called a friend to give me ride.
Again, because of the earthquake, gasoline stands have very few or no gas, so it was a hard thing to ask. But he did^^. We reached Takasaki in time, and finished the damn thing.
Now I just have to wait till they send me a post card telling me to go get my new Visa (if I pass the screening, which I likely will).

Anyway, that was a horrible day.

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