We picked up the visas last week, and now we are down to the waiting for time to go. Not like we still don’t have a lot of things to do before we go… In some ways we are anxious and ready to get on with this, and in other ways, it just seems to be coming up too fast.
We still have a lot of arrangements that need to be made, but much of it just can’t be done until right before we leave. We have chosen a property management company to take care of and lease our home while we are away. We have chosen a lawn service to maintain the landscape and lawn. We have yet to meet with the mover who will ship our Japan belongings to Tokyo, and will pack up and store the rest of our belongings here. We have researched storage for our vehicles, but haven’t arranged for that yet. We have made initial arrangements for pet care… we are dividing the pets between our children for the next two years. (Yeah… remember all those times we DIDN’T say “no” when you asked for a new pet hamster, rabbit, mouse, rat, cat, etc? Now it is your turn to take care of some pets for us. [Insert Smiley-face])
Right now we are headed into the Christmas holidays. It has been difficult for me to get into the holiday spirit this year, because I have so many other things on my mind. We finally did get the tree up and some decorations out, but I feel almost halfhearted about it because we have to get it all taken down and packed away immediately after Christmas so that the movers can come in. I feel halfhearted about the holiday cooking as well, because I am simultaneously trying to clean out and use up the stuff in my pantry, fridge, and freezer. I still want to do the holiday stuff… because, after all, we won’t be spending Christmas together in this house for a couple of years, and I will miss that. But… It is hard to get motivated.
I still wake up in the night to ruminate and worry about everything. Sometimes I am so sure about it all and so excited to get there. Other times, I wake in a panic and wonder “What have I done?” I find that it always seems worse in the dark… when I am the only one awake… Once daylight returns, I usually feel better about it. Just feeling scared and alone in the dark, I guess. Three more weeks, and we get this show on the road… Three more weeks.
I’m the husband part of this blog team, and the culprit behind all this, given that I accepted the job assignment in Japan. My wife established the blog and has been the author for the posts to date, but I will be sharing the blog writing tasks as we move ahead.
Day before yesterday we submitted our visa applications. Given all the other complications we have had in this process, submitting the applications was amazingly easy. We drove to the office of the Consulate-General of Japan in Atlanta, located in Phipps Tower in Buckhead. After a quick elevator ride and an equally brief scan through security, we were at the Visa Application window. A friendly lady took our applications, Certificates of Eligibility, and passports. My wife signed a form allowing me to pick up her passport for her when finished. We received a receipt saying our visas should be ready on Dec. 10. With that, we were done…probably about 5 minutes in all, including the time to go through the security screening.
Unless there are any complications, we should have our visas tomorrow. Looking forward to checking that major item off the list.
No one has asked, but I want to explain about the picture at the top of the blog… You know, the guy with the scary eyes. That is a picture of a statue of Nio — one of the guardians of the Buddha. This statue stands at the entrance to the Senso-ji Temple in Asakusa, Tokyo. We have been to Senso-ji on both of our previous trips to Tokyo. It is a fascinating place. We stayed in a ryokan — a traditional Japanese inn — in Asakusa, just about a 100 meters or so from this statue.
Inside the outer gates to the temple grounds, is an open air market called Nakamisi-dori. There have been shops on this site for hundreds of years. It is a really fun and interesting place to walk around where vendors sell food and mostly tourist-related items and souvenirs. Busy from early morning to late at night after the lights of Senso-ji come on. Beyond the market area, is another gate called the Hozomon — or treasure house gate — which leads to the inner temple complex. This particular statue of Nio stands in the Hozomon as a fierce reminder to the visitors of Senso-ji.
We received the Certificate of Eligibility this past week, and now we are almost ready to submit our applications for the visas. This must be done in person to the Japanese Consulate Visa Office. Here in the ATL, that is in Buckhead. The webpage says 3-5 days to receive the visas, except in some special cases. Hopefully, we will have the visas within the next week.
This is becoming something of a time crunch. My husband’s Japanese company is eager for him to get there and get started, but here in the USA, we are heading into Christmas and New Years. They are willing to wait until after the holidays are over, but not much more. They have already planned his January schedule — including a couple of international business trips. We are trying to get arrangements worked out amid family holiday commitments. Working out packing and storage for our belongings here, and shipment of the belongings we are taking to Japan… where to farm out our pets for two years… signing our home over to a leasing and management company… and,where to store our vehicles for two years. So many things to work out in such a short time!
I know that we will get all of this figured out, but right now, I am feeling a bit stressed over this. I wake up in the night and my brain just starts churning over and over and over… I am excited about this opportunity to experience a different culture and country. I just wish I could fast forward a month or so through all of these complicated arrangements.
Hang in there… it will all get done.