ben griffiths
an insight into the mind of a genius

Posts Tagged ‘immigration office’

The end is nigh…..

Monday, January 23rd, 2006

No I’m not talking about life, but the end of my birthday :( But more about that later, I have a week or so to catch up on.

It seems no one believed me (dad :p) when i said i have been working very hard, but it’s true! Everyday I have been spending hours at a time working on my Japanese book and trying to get everything copied across. It sounds like quite a simple task, but the thing is, I originally wrote it all in English characters, but of course, now need to convert it all across…. (well, i guess i don’t HAVE to, but it would be silly not to…)

So all week this has been going on, hence the lack of updated.

One important thing this week though was my visa related tasks. I had almost forgotten that when you leave Japan, if you don’t have a re-entry permit, you cant get back in! Not wanting to leave anything until the last minute ;) - Tuesday morning, i went with Shimpei to the local immigration office. I say local, but it was actually 40 minutes away, but we went in the car, so it wasn’t all bad :)
The system to actually get the permit was so strange, first, you go in on the ground floor and get the forms, then you have to go to the 7/11 to pay for the permit (£30 for a multiple, a single is £15 - but figured i might as well be sure and get it all) - before finally heading up to the top floor to take a ticket and await your turn.

Once you actually get seen, it’s only a 2 minute job - and as they seemed to be zipping through all the applicants, we actually finished the whole thing in about 20 minutes! Awesome! :)
Following our success, Shimpei then suggested we try out a new burger joint he had found “Baker Bounce” - so off we set. Now, as you know I have always been quite sceptical of the food here, so wasn’t expecting much - however i’m delighted to say i was very pleasently suprised :) Quite a large burger with added bacon, cheese, avocado and mushrooms - yes thank you very much, hurrah!

The rest of the week was uneventful, though, woops, I’ve forgotten about Sunday night…. doh! Last time I wrote, i was just talking of going out right? Well we went to a restaurant in Shimo to eat proper traditional Japanese food… I even had some raw fish, which was actually quite nice (shock horror!) - i had intended to take a load of photos, but not so many actually materialised (read 2!)


So, on to the weekend - as per usual, I wasn’t going to be able to make going anywhere on the Friday night, so stayed at home working :) Later on, Seiko came home, so she was helping me out - before at about midnight or so, Shimpei came over, so we ended up watching TV (though I did still carry on writing!). Finally, I caught Helen on Skype, so spend the next few hours or so talking to myself (she didn’t have a mic, so was typing responses, lol)…

But enough of that, as you may notice, my story seems a little impatient, well, for good reason! I want to get onto Saturday….!

So Saturday is the same old, same old, wake up freezing, put on my little blanket thing and get on the computer. However, this is where it changed….. a few minutes after I woke up, Seiko pops in the front room telling me to look outside, ok, sure….


Wowza! Proper snow! This hasn’t happened for ages, the last time i can remember was when I lived at Kingston, so thats at least 2 years ago!!! So I was very excited and got ready as fast as I could, to get outside and get some photos taken …. first stop, the roof!


Before heading outside to the park, which suddenly didn’t need grass to look good …


I do apologise for any camera blur, but it was freezing, so very difficult to hold the camera still :) There’s loads in the gallery, including this Tom inspired arty attempt :)

This snow was deep too (especially on the roof) and really soft and powdery, a good start to the weekend …. :)
Seiko then had to go off to “prepare for tonite” - so I wandered back home to work a bit on this site (you will notice now there may be some video clips online, though they might take a while to load up…..)

Finally, at 6:30 it was time to go and meet Seiko and Shiho @ Shibuya, where I was then ushered into a Taxi and whisked away to Ebis to a very swanky looking restaurant called Kitsune…. there we met up with Yumi, Chie and Akie.

Before the meal however, it was time to open the mystery box, which contained inside it one of the most delicious cakes I have ever eaten! Just full of cream and strawberries….. oh my, i want it back NOW :)

So the food arrived and the alcohol flowed and a great time was had by all - it was great to be spending such a good time out with everyone :) Even better was the fact that everything had been planned for me, all i had to do was turn up :) I don’t think I’ve ever had a birthday like this, usually I have to do all the organising - Seiko’s birthday is in March, so I will need to work with Shiho to think of something special to do for her….

Just before the main course arrived (a mixture of meats and pasta) it was “present time” :) hehe…. in true to birthday tradition, I opened the cards first - which of course were all in Japanese. Cue 10 minutes of me trying to translate all of them (which i couldn’t quite do - but got the main jist) before opening my bags…. hehe …. i know a lot of you reading this are going to be thinking WTF?!? But, I am happy with them, so ner ner :p

The Miffy stuff is from Seiko, Shiho and Shimpei, the flower from Chie and the Moomin Mug from Akie.

I also want to show you this, along with all my individual cards, they also wrote one big one for me - it’s things like this i think are cool about Japan, some of the stuff is just so cute :) Even more amusing is Yumi’s choice of words, I promise you Gowry, there is nothing going on… haha…


So after we were all done, it was time to find somewhere else to go - everyone wanted to know what I wanted, but i was at a loss and was just happy going where everyone else did. It was therefore decided that first we should head to the local arcade to get some photos taken in one of the phot me machines…..


(There were more, but they got dished out to the others :))

Before finally heading for a karaoke room, which for 3000yen was infinite drinks for about 5 hours! :eek:
To start with, everyone was pretty fresh faced with some amazing moves in action…


….but after a few hours, things were going a little downhill ;)

Come 5am, the trains started and it was time to leave - though once home, the party continued (much to our neighbours delight I’m sure ;)) until about 8am when we finally all crawled into bed (not with each other, obviously :D)

So did I have a good time? I think that should be obvious :) I had a great time, and many many thanks to Seiko and Shiho for organising it all, I know they felt guilty for new year, but this completely made up for everything - it just puts on the pressure for theirs now …. hmmmm….

Happy Birthday Me !!! :D :)