I’m an alien, I’m a legal alien …

I’m not an Englishman in New York, but I am a legal alien. I have my official Certificate of Alien Registration, recorded at the local Ward office. A Ward ( 区, ku, in this case) is sort of like a township. I guess. It is hard to describe exactly what a Ward is. No complications whatsoever. It is my third gaijin card. The first two I had to give up when I left the country. This one allows multiple entry (that was through the regional immigration office).

After I got my gaijin card, I went with a Japanese colleague to open a bank account. Opening a bank account is never easy in any language. Opening one in Japanese did not disappoint. I was asked if I wanted a Visa card … then when they found out that I hadn’t been in the country for 6 months the offer was rescinded … then when they found out I was employed they offered the credit card again. Why do I want a credit card? Well, you never know when the three that I currently have will fail. Anyway, it is my Japan emergency credit card.

As I said, I needed a hanko (personal stamp) to open an account. It seems so arbitrary. I just buy this stamp and then somehow it is official? My name in katakana isn’t particularly beautiful either – フィシュ. I wanted to use the kanji for fish, 魚, but all my J-friends thought that would not work well. It turns out every time I made a little mistake like a cross out or anything like that, I had to STAMP! the mistake. I felt so imperfect – my application was filled with lots of little red stamped circles. Stupid foreigner. The choices were very confusing to me and my helper. I remember when I helped Tomo open an account at the credit unionI had a hard time suggesting the proper choices. Japan was no different.

Not much else to report. Working. Eating, Sleeping. I got a call tonight that basically said I might have to go from my frying pan pressure job here in Nagoya and go help out on a super hot wok job in the States for a bit. I don’t want to go. I want to be “home” in Nagoya for a while.

OK, I’m outta here for now. More later.