|No, not that kind of alien....|
The first thing you need to do when you are moving to Japan for more than 90 days is register yourself as a resident alien. To do this, you have to go to your city hall for your district and fill out some forms. Luckily for me, back during my study abroad in 2008, my host mom was nice enough to take me to get registered. But his time, I had to do it on my own. For whatever reason, though, both times the city hall was way on the other side of my district for where I lived. Thankfully there was a direct bus that took me there when I was with my host family. But this time, I had little choice but to just walk there.
While I was worried about getting lost going there (since I didn't have a phone at the time) I enjoyed seeing the more residental side of my ward. Along the way, I passed many metal workshops, which was quite intriguing. It was also really sunny and hot, making me sweat like a pig every step of the way XD But thankfully, Google Maps in Japan is very accurate, so I got there with little trouble.
When I arrived, I was a little disoriented. \I went to the information booth lady and she very kindly directed me to the photo booth where I could take my application pictures. When I got there, there was this curtain and I couldn't tell if anyone was inside or not. There were no lights or anything, either, so I was kind of standing there thinking it was broken. But one of the men sitting at the desks behind me said, in very good English "Open the curtain!" Blushing, I thanked him and opened up the curtain, and, like magic, the light turned on.
They NEED to get these machines in America! They're super useful and much less expensive than going to Walgreens or whatever to get them done. It was only 600円 for 5 pictures and the lighting is brighter making it flattering and evening out your skin-tone. It even made unphotogenic me look halfway decent.
After that ordeal, I headed to the appropriate window to get my registration started. I took my number and was almost immediately called. The attendant, and older Japanese man, explained the form in mostly Japanese with a little English here and there. He was very patient with me and told me to come back after I filled out the form. The form was pretty self-explanatory with both English and Japanese for each section. I tried to write in Japanese the parts that I could (like my address. Thankfully, the kanji for it are pretty basic), but the form was so small for huge, terrible handwriting, so by the end of it, it looked like a toddler with a broken arm had written on it. I handed it in and was told to wait.
After clarifying a couple of errors I made (whoops! I am a 外人 after all), I was finished. But then I had to request this form saying I was in the process of registering so I could get my cell phone and bank account set up. This form has the longest name EVER and I just typed in on my American iPhone (which took about ten minutes to do since it was so long) so that I wouldn't have to go through the linguistic decathlon of even beginning to pronounce it. The word is 外国人登録原票記載事項証明書 which, in the roman alphabet, is "gaikokujintourokugenpyoukisaijikoushoumeisho". But, needless to say, I got them.
After that was done, there was nothing really else I had to do to prepare for work, so I've been spending the past two days with two fellow Americans who are going to be teaching with me. It's been awesome hanging out with them and actually having some IRL social time. We hit up Takadanobaba, Shinjuku, Akihabara, Harajuku, and Shibuya so far. I love how laid back they are and how helpful they've been. One of them directed me to a gem of a resource: an English speaking Softbank store near Harajuku! I got my white iPhone and have been kind of messing with it (and kind of messed it up already :'( ) since. I feel a bit better about my living situation, but it's more in the fact that I'm determined to get out of it XD I talked to the other English teacher in my guest house who has been living there for three months and his room is in the same state as mine due to the lack of space as well. Soooooo, we'll see.
Tomorrow I start work, which ends my 3 and a half weeks of funemployment and begins my professional career. Yikes.
Does anyone here have any interesting alien registration stories? Any requests from anyone about blog topics you wanna see???