Immigration – The Wait Begins

Well, it’s done. We’re off to mail the visa application to Canada.

20150525-110855-40135585.jpg
The actual address it’s going to! Note the wonderful shadow.

If things go well, we’ll hear from them with a case ID so we can track the progress. However, the length of time it’ll take to process can be up to 17 months, though I’ve heard of them being done within 9 months.  The package will go to Mississauga, Ontario, then will be forwarded to the visa office in Manila, Philippines. Why Manila? Well, that’s where visa applications for East Asia are processed (except China).

Things that may happen include my wife having an interview at the Embassy. And there’s a possibility that we’ll be in Canada before the visa is approved. In that case, we’ll have to get my wife a visitor visa, though she may be allowed a temporary work permit (new rules as of last year!).

So now, we just wait. And try to enjoy our last year in Japan.

Life in Japan: Surprising First Impressions

When I first came to Japan, I had some expectations. I thought I knew what I was going to see. But I was pretty surprised in many ways. This week’s question comes from moldydaisy.

What were some of the things that really surprised you when you moved there? What things stood out in your mind that you would never have thought of before your arrival?

The very first thing that surprised me was before I even landed. From the airplane, I could see the rice fields near the airport. From the air, they weren’t a uniform shape. No grid, no squares, no rectangles. They were very organic in shape.

After landing, I was on the Narita Express to Yokohama, and I saw so many houses that were different than anything I’d seen in Canada. They were small, built close together, and everything was so dense.  Yet there were pockets of green. Very dense green trees and plants on hills. And bamboo!

Around my new home, I was surprised by the smells. I could smell a lot of ramen. There were many ramen shops near my home at the time. That first night, I also went shopping at the supermarket. What surprised me was that salt was with the oil and soy sauce, not the spices. The packaging also surprised me. They used far too much packaging for everything.

But probably the biggest surprise was my apartment. It was small, and it had very poor insulation. It was April when I arrived, and the nights were still pretty cool. It was cold inside my apartment.

All of these things I’m used to now. They seem normal. Having been here for ten years, not much surprises me anymore.

If you have any questions about living in Japan, please see the original post and leave your questions in the comments.