sechan19: (morisot)
The flight back east was uneventful - a bifurcated red-eye (that's a red-eye broken up into two flights with a natty stop-over in the middle) that I managed to sleep through somehow, even with all the terminal wandering.

Once at Mom's I settled in and relaxed, watching the telly and conversing on general topics. We looked at a variety of houses that I might be interested in buying (as I've decided to buy a house rather than rent one when I move) and discussed the pre-approval of financing options. I hopped on my trusty Internet connection to send out emails coordinating my visit to the University next week with my plans to go house hunting. Then, I laid back and vegged. Mom introduced me to a show called Firefly, which I'd heard talk of but never gotten around to watching, and I'm seriously loving it. It's an excellent Sci-fi series that should never have been canceled (although, there's no doubt in my mind why it was canceled - and goddamn the fucking prudes in our society with their gutter-brained antics).

Yesterday we ran some fun errands. Mom took me over to a local jewelers. She's having an old ring of her great-grandmother's made into three rings for myself and my two cousins. So I had a good time picking out the setting. Apparently, white gold is all the rage right now and the girls will be getting white gold rings, but I specifically requested yellow gold. I'm a traditionalist, or something. If I want white gold I'll get silver - you know?

After the jewelers and the library, we went to a nursery and bought a few plants. I get the impression that Mom's ready for the cold weather to end, and I get a sense of what I'll be facing from time to time after I move. Once done there we went over to a super cute, and super expensive, clothing boutique where I tried on all kinds of adorable clothes that I could never dream of owning and wound up with one sassy outfit and a shirt that - with the right pair of go-go boots - will make an awesome party outfit and is now being held in reserve for my BFF's birthday party that's coming up in a few weeks.

Dinner took place at a Mexican restaurant that we love and involved the acquisition and consumption of the fabled Big Beer (tm) - a 32oz. marvel that can be yours for under $4. Oh yeah, and the food is fabulous, too. ;)

Well, off I go to try and get some studying done. Miles to go before I sleep, as always.
sechan19: (butterfly)
So. When I booked my flights for the Tokyo language program I'm participating in this spring I made a boo-boo, and I freely admit it. I booked a set of dates that put me in Japan for 91 days, thinking (rightly) that I was booking a set of dates that was exactly three months long and (wrongly) that I was therefore within the limits of Japan's visa exemption agreement with the US. Except, of course, Japan's visa exemption agreement with the US is for 90 days. (Some countries get three month agreements and some countries get 90 day agreements. It's one of life's mysterious facts.) And the Japanese authorities will, apparently, deport my ass straightaway for having an itinerary that violates that stricture - even by a day.

Whoops.

My next step was to try identifying some options. I contacted the Consulate General of Japan in San Francisco and asked about visa options, and I contacted my travel agent to see what could be done about a quick change.

To make a long story short, I don't qualify for a student visa even though I'm going over as a student because I will be doing two weeks of sightseeing at the end of my trip. And sightseeing is, as it turns out, not a sanctioned activity in Japan when you're there on a student visa. I also cannot keep my two weeks of sightseeing with a flight change without paying an exorbitant amount of fees to do so. Translation = I'm only getting six days of sightseeing time.

And that kind of sucks because I had some bitchin' plans set up, but it's not the end of the world. After all, this won't be my only trip to Japan by a long shot. And anyway... now I know the truth about travel in Japan - although I should have expected something like this from a nation that spent 250 years butchering practically anyone who tried to get into the country from a foreign nation.

And knowing is half the battle.

May 2014

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