Wednesday, August 16, 2006
Quality Control Street.
Palaver and kerfuffle.
Went back to the City Hall to collect my Gaijin card; the credit card-esque pass that allows me to stay in Japan.
Two weeks ago, when I applied for the card, City Hall said they would register my official address as flat 304, as 305 didn’t exist.
At the time, jetlagged and not with it, I assumed I had copied down the address wrong and agreed. Actually, it WAS flat 305, I discovered later that night.
So, when I collected the Gaijin card today, they had listed my address as 304. Never mind, I thought, what’s the worst that can happen?
Well, I’ll tell you: the address you give to the bank and the mobile phone companies must match the address on the gaijin card. If they don’t match you don’t get a bank account and you don’t get a phone.
And mine didn’t match.
Phoned Helmut for advice – he’s being living here for twenty years. He said, regrettably, everyone automatically defers to the government and a bank teller is more likely to believe the info on the Gaijin card than a story about a non-existent address.
Even if I could explain it in Japanese. Which I couldn’t.
So having just arrived back in my flat, I turned round and went straight back out again pausing briefly to grab my housing contract and take a photo of my front door number.
When I arrived back at City Hall for the second time that day I was gearing up for a ruck.
After explaining the situation, I was asked to sit down. Then there was a lot of frowning and mumbling, before they called me back. Once again, they showed me a map of my street with 305 missing.
Immediately I whipped out my housing contract which carried the address and then my secret weapon - the camera.
“Aaaah” the girl said looking at the screen but then started frowning and pointing. It appeared that the battery logo for the camera was obscuring the 5 in 305.
Amazing. Not only are they not satisfied with a housing contract carrying my address, they assume I went to the trouble of taking a photo of my front door only to cleverly conceal the only number that mattered – the last digit – with a battery power logo.
“Zoom?” she said hopefully. I began punching random buttons, only to accidentally flick through some of the more embarrassing photos already posted on the site – particularly the one of me with the Udon apron.
Finally, I sorted it and a big fat 305 appeared on the screen. “Aaah” she said before writing 305 in biro on the back of the card.
Thank goodness for modern technology, though. Here is the photo that saved my bacon.