Today I returned to Nagoya’s immigration office, fully prepared to wait an estimated 6 hours for my new visa and multi-entry permit (so I can leave Japan and come back as many times as I want during the validity of my new visa). Yasu came along to offer linguistic assistance when needed and to keep me company, he tried to escape in the beginning by suggesting he wait in a nearby café, naturally I wasn’t going to let him get away with that. Instead he got us some coffees at the konbini down the street and made my waiting in that crowded third floor sauna a lot more enjoyable than last time.
The place was crawling with foreigners of course, it being the last Monday before Golden Week (when everybody has a week off and time to travel abroad) and before the office closing down for their big move to a new building. Yet somehow it seemed less busy than 3 weeks ago, maybe so many people were avoiding the just-before-Golden-Week-&-big-move crowd by coming a couple of weeks earlier that it actually thinned the crowd today.
This time I had to get in line four times. First, I had to buy a 6000 yen stamp to pay for my new (I already have one, but it’s only valid in combination with my old visa) multi re-entry permit, but that line was virtually non-existent. Then another quickie was the short line at counter number 10, where I handed someone my passport so that they could stick the new visa in it. There an immigration officer gave me a ticket with 722 on it, when the big sign said something like 653 or something. So even though I wasn’t technically in line, as I was wondering around in search of a seat, that’s where I wasted the most time (about 100 minutes) patiently waiting for my turn.
After acquiring my new visa it was time to apply for my new multi re-entry permit, which meant taking a number from a machine and waiting for the fourth time, but I had already taken a ticket from that machine long before I actually got my passport back, in an effort to jump the line later. But the people at the re-entry permit desk were going much faster and ‘my’ turn came way too fast… twice. The number on my third ticket came about 10 minutes after I finally got my passport back and luckily sticking a new re-entry permit into my passport was only a matter of minutes, so there was no need for a fifth line. To my surprise and delight, we left the immigration office ‘only’ about two hours after entering it and with a new visa, which by the way is valid for 3 whole years!