Prep ii) Collect Visa

With just under three weeks left, preparations are under way for my flight to Japan.

Today, I went to London with my sister and two cousins to visit the Japanese Embassy to sort out my student visa. To be honest, I should have done this much earlier, but then again, I should have never stopped taken piano lessons, so you win some you lose some.

To collect it, you have to bring

  • your passport and extra photo
  • completed visa application from
  • certificate of eligibility and copy
  • cash
  • self addressed envelope

The embassy in London is opposite Green Park, just down the road from the tube station. You can’t miss it … unless you don’t know what the Japanese flag looks like.

the embassy

At the door, a security guard stopped us with a courteous “how can I help you?”. I told him I was here to get my visa and showed him my certificate of eligibility and passport. The rest of my party only had to show photo ID. We went inside, put our bags on a conveyor belt and walked through a metal detector, up some stairs and through into a waiting room.

The decor was very nice, there were even chandeliers on the ceiling, but unfortunately pictures weren’t allowed.

I collected my ticket, waited for my number to be called and went through to the counter. The man behind the glass asked me for my various forms and papers, took my passport, envelope and money and said it will be sent to me in four days.

I hope I get my passport back, I kinda need it to fly.

a taste of japan

Afterwards, we decided to get something to eat and wonder around London. Naturally, we ended up going to China Town where I spotted an anonymous Japanese dessert shop (well, it wasn’t anonymous, I just can’t remember the name).

The desserts looked so delicious that I went to have a closer look. It wasn’t until my sister said “how come it doesn’t melt?” that I realised that it was all made of plastic, just like dishes in shop windows in Japan.

Quite unlike those plastic peppers and broccoli heads I played with as a toddler, I had heard that the fake dishes were actually very realistic. No kidding.

We then made the obligatory visit to the Japan Center where I spotted another example of the Japanese kawaii-ing almost anything they can lay their hands on:

Overall, the process was very quick and efficient and I had a great day. Hopefully my visa will arrive soon. I was told to guard it with my life because if it gets lost, I will not be able to go to Japan this year. On Flight Day, I’m going to have to keep it close to me at all times. I think I’ll tuck it in my bra.

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