Well, yesterday I paid what could well be my last visit to Morioka. I needed to collect my new spouse visa at the Immigration Office – my contract is nearly finished but I will be in Yokohama for 6 weeks from the end of March, and return a heavy bag of text books to my company’s office.
It wasn’t a smooth day by any means, I left with barely enough time to make my train, and then on the way to the station the bag fell apart, and books lay on the road as light snow fell and I had to pick them up and carry them in my arms to the station. Bought my ticket, ran to the platform to see the train pulling away. 30 seconds too late. Some days are like that. It was over an hour until the next train. I bought a bag to carry the books and read a good deal of ‘A Dance with Dragons’, which I stalled at reading last year but am determined to finish sooner or later. I am 60% of the way through. Still confident it will get finished before the next book is out though!
In Morioka there was a severe wind-chill factor and at no point, inside or out, did I even consider taking my thick jacket off. To get my visa I first needed to pay a fee, which you do on a different floor and you get a stamp that you hand to the staff at the visa office. It looked like a normal postage stamp and for all I know, it was. The photo I had given them was the same as the one on my residence card for the previous 12 months, and they wanted a new one and directed me to go to a nearby building and get more photos taken. However, I pulled out a different passport sized photo from my money belt and they accepted that. Hassle, averted!
I was lucky enough to bump into some fellow employees at the visa office who gave me a lift to the company office, my bag of books was going to be a pain to carry the 2km or so. After returning the books I wandered around to find the ‘rock splitting cherry tree’, something of a ‘natural national treasure’, located outside a government building. Not so impressive until spring hits and the cherry blossoms are in bloom, you can see by the photos it is pretty well-regarded!
Then to the building ‘Aiina’, where I met my good friend and long-term resident Dean Rueztler, to record a conversation. What? What’s all that about I hear you say? Well, some time ago I said I was looking into getting a podcast happening. Finally, I have started. Look to mid-April for the first one to be available for free down on the net, it may or may not be the one I recorded yesterday with the man below, Dean. We waxed lyrical about living in Japan, the best and the worst, the frustrations and so forth. It promises to be a great listen!
And then there was time for dinner and political talk before I made my way back to Ichinoseki. I’m here until nearly the end of March (28th I leave, nightime bus). And I realised, well, my time is coming to a close in Iwate. I had my last day at my other school on Wednesday – stay tuned for more on that tomorrow. Oh and before I go…
is now available for only 85 cents on Payhip (same price now for Short Journeys: Ethiopia and Kazakhstan too). Second edition includes a couple of useful websites, a few changes and tinkering and perhaps one or two new photos. Also, you’ll find previews available for all three books on Payhip too. Short Journeys: Laos also added to Lulu for $1.99.
More information on the podcast will be coming. Keep your eyes peeled!