First of all, if you've been having trouble clicking on links in my blog, its because blogger is adding tons of stuff to the beginning of the hyperlink, meaning that you get a blogger error page instead of the link. If this happens, its easy to fix - just look up at the address bar (where you would type in a URL), and delete all the stuff before the www. For instance, in this link: (http://gaijinbedbug.blogspot.com/2007/03/www.boingboing.net) you would need to delete everything before (www.boingboing.net). Press enter and away you go! Does anyone know why blogger does this and how to fix it?
Managed to get both of today's missions for today accomplished, which was good, feels as if I were vaguely productive in that sense. The first mission was to head way the hell out to the middle of nowhere to the Immigration building to apply for my visa extension, which definitely took up the biggest chunk of my day - its just under an hour to get there, and when I did get there (in the middle of lunch, at 12:30; doh!), I was number 518, and they were currently at number 212! The scary part was that even by the time I got to go see someone three hours later, there were no fewer people in the waiting room (and a bunch of us were sitting on the floor because the massive room was full) than when I got there, and as they close at 4:00, I'm really not sure what was going to happen to those poor guys!
(sea of visa seeking people...)
(middle of nowhere)
(there's basically some shipping stuff, and apparently a jail and garbage dump out here....why is this the perfect location for the almost brand new immigration building?)
I had pre filled in my form, but luckily, I went to check about something else at the information desk, because she took one look at it and said "you better go ask the inspection desk about that" because it had a bunch of weird dots courtesy of a too old version of acrobat reader that I used to d/l the pdf. I waited through the surprisingly short line to check, and the woman there was like 'dame!' (dah-me; nope!) Luckily, she had an extra copy of the form, because the line to get the forms downstairs was scarily long! I re filled it out, got inspected again to make sure it all looked OK, and then hunkered down in the corner with a bento and my Japanese text books, which I studied for awhile, before starting Margaret Atwood's Penelopiad. Unfortunately, it's really not my sort of book! I got it because I was hoping to get it signed, and its her newest, but I really should have gone for one of her more traditional novels, as I've enjoyed the other couple I've read. This is all based on myth (The Odyssey) and it's a bit fantastical for my liking.
Once I finally got to see someone, it was a roughly one minute transaction to hand in my forms, and for her to check my gaijin card and both passports - I'd been hoping to get my visa moved from one passport to the other today, but no one seemed overly interested in doing that, even though I asked three different people about having it done. She told me to bring both passports with me when I come back to pick up my visa though, so maybe they'll either do it then, or I'm just going to have stuff in two passports till this visa expires in the middle of October? I guess I wait now, and if everything looks OK, I get a postcard in the mail (which I had to address today), and then I'll go back, pay Y4000, and get a sticker or something extending the visa, at which point, I can get back in some long lines and pay Y6000 to get an unlimited re-entry permit for the duration of my visa, which basically means that should I manage to leave the country before my visa is up, I'll be able to keep my gaijin card and go through the 'yes, I'm Japanese' line when returning to Narita.
After all that, I took my first public bus since getting here, it all went very smoothly, but I did take the easiest kind luckily - this one was just get on at the front, pay your Y200, wait till you get to the station, and get off at the back with everyone else variety. I've heard that variations on the theme include different amounts of fare depending on how far you are going, and getting a ticket when you get on and post paying depending on the number of stops traveled, both of which seemed like they had the potential to be complicated, and have lead to a combination of bike/walking/train vs. bus!
Got home at about 5:15 and spent the next two hours getting my first query all ready to submit (and did indeed get it submitted!) Most of the issue was trying to figure out a way to get a couple of clips online for editors to view if I'm emailing queries as they don't like attachments apparently (fair enough, but switch to mac!) In the end, I made a new flickr account, scanned at a high resolution, and dumped the jpgs of two articles up there. Since Weekender is physically so big (A3), it doesn't fit on Peter's scanner, so I had to photo copy and shrink the articles first (that was an adventure at the ampm!) before I could scan them, and since I only did that with one issue, I just have two articles up so far - one from BAB and one from Weekender; I didn't want to put like five up from the same issue, so tomorrow I'll get my articles from the other two organized and up there as well, and then will probably keep 3-5 good/current/varied articles up at any one time (right, Mom?). This whole cover letter/query/email vs. snail mail/SASE/IRC/clips thing is complicated!!!! Hopefully the first one was the hardest and I can get a few more submitted ASAP!
Finally finished that up and then went downstairs with Venus and dozed my way through most of Spinal Tap before coming up here to get the blogging over with before I fall asleep properly... Work tomorrow - I get to go see Happy Feet to review it, and first day working with the new intern!