So, after my last daylog posting, some kind folks, worried about my situation. I am in Japan, working, on a tourist visa that expired yesterday. Technically, Japan doesn`t give tourist visa extensions to American tourists, and technically you can not get a tourist visa extended because you are waiting for your work visa, no matter your country of origin. But I called the good people in Nagoya, the immigration office that is handling my papers, and they said that I should go apply for a tourist visa extension. So, I did.

I had to go to Shizuoka city to do this, but I did not mind at all, since I live in a small town (by Japanese standards, though certainly not by New Mexico standards), and going to Shizuoka is a very diverting way to spend an afternoon.

At the immigration office, there was the usual scattering of dejected looking South Americans, but no one seemed to actually be being helped. So I walked up to the nice looking fellow behind the counter and asked if he could understand English. Thankfully, he could. He gave me the necessary application, and then took me over to one side and began whispering to me without looking at me, a sure sign I was being let in on some big secret.

"Understand," he began, "your explanation of why you want a visa extension is very important. We cannot grant a visa extension because you are waiting for a work visa. So, perhaps you have more sightseeing you need to do before you return to your country? Or perhaps you have friends you wish to visit? Understand, this is very important." Finally he looked at me. "Do you understand?"

I assured him I understood and filled out the application. When I gave it to him, he skimmed it and gave a small nod and smile to me. A short while later, I was blessed with a stamp in my passport noting that I had applied for an extension. So I am more or less legal in Japan again. Next week, I have to go back and get the actual tourist visa extension stamped in my passport. At least that is the idea. They could deny it. But he seemed sure they would grant it.

And then I just go back to waiting for the work visa processing to finish, which is probably going to be another month. Given how things have worked out, I will be nearly finished with this year`s contract before I have my gaijin card. Fortunately, I am not especially prone to serious illness or accidents, so I don`t have that much reason to care.1 So long as I am more or less legal and therefore not under immediate threat of deportation, I`m cool.2

I realize that subconsciously I want to be forced to leave so I can go to Slovenia and spend a month or so looking for a new job in Japan and getting smashed on gin and dreadful homemade Akvavit every night with my best friend. It would be a good excuse to go back to living the fuck-up lifestyle I so adore. As I have often said, I really long to disappoint people, myself included.

But the greater part of me knows how stupid that would be and how much I have to lose by being so bloody irresponsible as to let my tourist visa expire. I am on my way to financial stability for the first time in a long time. I love my boyfriend. My Japanese is improving rapidly.

And, dammit, in the move to Slovenia, I would miss at least a few World Cup games. And that would be intolerable.

1You need the gaijin card to get health insurance, other than traveler`s insurance.

2I say "more or less legal" because I am still working technically with only a tourist visa, and technically this is illegal. But this is a small matter compared with having no visa at all.