Friday, August 31, 2012

Keeping in Touch

We just came back from two weeks back in Canada (and a couple short forays into the northern States). It was so awesome seeing family and friends again. We were blessed by countless people along the way. (Alright, you got me. If I tried, I could actually count them. But I'd rather not put a number on the blessings... I am sure I will miss a few if I try to put them all in a box and count and label them.)

Of course, the best part about being in Canada is the food. No, just kidding! It's the people... and family tops the list. This year, I am going to try to keep in better touch with my family. One thing that I did this time, though, was to introduce something Japanese to two particular people, hoping somehow they will catch the fever, and practice, and while I practice the same things here, we can compare notes, techniques, and good results. So without further ado, here are the things I am sharing with people back home:

1) With my nephew, a toy/art called "kendama" -- I gave him one, and he seems to really like it, and so does his dad, for that matter! Here's what it's supposed to look like:

And here's what I look like doing it, so far. (I just bought mine two days ago, and have not had much chance to fiddle with it yet.)

2) With my mom, a technique for health called long breathing. I dozed off in front of the TV about a month ago, and when I woke up, my wife was practicing this in the living room. (The guy founder was featured on a TV show and was demonstrating it to the nation.) It looks (and sounds) kind of funny, but the results are supposedly astounding! Here's a demonstration done by the founder of the technique:

And here's me doing it. Sorry for not being brave enough to shed my shirt and wear spandex shorts. Perhaps when my body looks more like his, I'll make the switch.

Anyways, that is how I hope to "build friendship" with my family and share hobbies with them a little better. What do you all think???

Friday, August 10, 2012

Spousal Visa Procedures -- Japan

This is a bit of a departure from my usual blog entries. It is not really a "personal" one, or specifically about what I am thinking or going through. It is intended to help anyone out who might be wondering how to go about applying for a spousal visa in Japan.

Since I checked online once upon a time for spousal visa procedures in Japan, either things have changed, or the site I visited did not provide adequate information, which resulted in my going to immigration without the right documents. (Note: This procedure is for foreigners living in Japan whose spouse is a Japanese national or the relative of a Japanese national. For procedures involving other situations, such as both spouses being foreigners, please consult a different source.) So here is a translation of the list (given to me by immigration) of documents/papers you need to submit:

1) Change of Status Application Form
在留資格変更許可申請書 zairyuu shikaku henkou kyoka shinseisho
(form available at immigration office, or downloadable here)

2) Copy of Spouse's Family Registry
配偶者(日本人)の方の戸籍謄本 haiguusha (nihonjin) no kata no koseki touhon
(available at your city office)

3) Copy of Proof of Marriage Registration in your country
申請人の国籍国(外国)の機関から発行された結婚証明書 shinseijin no kokusekikoku (gaikoku) no kikan kara hakkou sareta kekkon shoumeisho
(only if you have registered your marriage in your country)

4) Proof of Spouse's (or your own, if you are the principal income earner) City Tax Payments 
配偶者(日本人)の住民税の納税証明書 haiguusha (nihonjin) no juuminzei no nouzei shoumeisho
(available at your city office)

5) Spouse's Sponsorship Guarantor Form -- should be stamped with guarantor's inkan (name stamp)
配偶者(日本人)の身元保証書 haiguusha (nihonjin) no mimoto hoshousho
(form available at immigration office or downloadable here)

6) Copy of Spouse's Registration Record
日本人の方の世帯全員の記載のある住民票の写し nihonjin no kata no setai zen in no kisai no aru juuminhyou no utsushi
(available at your city office)

7) Question Form 
質問書 shitsumonsho
(available at immigration office or downloadable here)

8) Two or three pictures of the two of you as a couple -- make sure you can be easily identified in them!
スナップ写真(夫婦で映っており、容姿がはっきり確認できるもの)2〜3枚 sunappu shashin (fuufu de utsutteori, youshi ga hakkiri kakunin dekiru mono)

9) Your passport (to be shown, not submitted)
旅券 提示 ryoken (teiji)

10) Your Alien Registration Card -- or the new Resident Card (to be shown, not submitted)
外国人登録証明書  提示 gaikokujin touroku shoumeisho (teiji)

When these documents are submitted, it should take a month or so to process, depending on how busy immigration office is at that time. If I am not mistaken, the cost for a change of residence status also costs ¥4,000 but does not need to be paid until the visa paperwork has been processed.

(I have not yet submitted my paperwork, but once I do, I will probably give a little update to let you know if there were any other complications or requirements, and also to tell you how long it took for my paperwork to be processed.)