Hooray, my visa has been extended! I heard a few days before Riemer came (and we were going to travel around southern Japan), so I rushed to the immigration office, and an hour later I had an extra year of Japan in the pocket. And, also not unimportant: finally a somewhat normal visa, because with such a six-month thingy, most companies can do exactly nothing. Time to switch to a real phone provider.
Hello, greetings from the saddest spot in the local Starbucks. In the back of the store, with no windows, in a corner. A one person table against the wall. I’m sitting here with my laptop because I wanted a change of scenery. A moment of no distraction from all the stuff around me, so I can write this blog in peace. At least, as long as the battery of this laptop lasts.
Hello, from a hotel room overlooking the train station of a rainy Hakodate. Hakodate is the southernmost tip of northern Japan, the island of Hokkaido. On Friday I flew to Sapporo, the capital of this prefecture. This is where the Pokémon GO Fest was held last weekend: a live event organized by Niantic, the makers of Pokémon GO. I saw the announcement in the app and thought, “Hey, I can just go to this!”
“Oh yes, and I need you to do one more thing…” Mikako, my bank account, visa and tax contact, walked me through the to-do’s for renewing my visa. “You have to take pictures of your office. From the entrance to the elevator, the front door, and then of course inside. It is important that there is a nameplate on your door. It’s even more important that it not only says Toeps Media, but also 株式会社.”
You know that feeling? When you want to clean out a closet, pull everything out, and then completely overwhelmed by the incredible mess you want to stuff everything back in? That’s what my life feels like right now. Everything is upside down. And everything is intertwined, like a big jumble of plugs, printer cables and mini-USB, somewhere in an Ikea box.
It has been over a month since I wrote anything here. My head is full, and even when I talk to my friends it gets in the way. Then I want to tell them everything, immediately, and then the conversation turns into one big monologue about bank accounts, tatami mats and bats, and that’s not very nice of course. Or well. Not very reciprocal. That’s why this is a good old blog; one-way traffic, information dump style. Maybe you have already seen bits and pieces on Instagram (really, that medium still keeps me somewhat sane), but here it is, neatly and with context: Toeps in Japan, the recap.
In my previous blog I promised to tell you more about the trip, but I’ve been here for about three weeks, so the trip can be summarized as: I got on the plane in Korea, got off two hours later in Japan,went through all the procedures at Narita and was allowed to take the train home. There I had to quarantine for another three days, after which I was allowed to leave early after a local PCR test.
“Do you actually still identify as a woman?” Roufaida asked me, after we talked about her podcast, which I had also contributed to. Grrrls was the initial name, but now that she had recently interviewed a non-binary person, the name really couldn’t be used anymore. Shortly before, my Instagram app asked me if I wanted to put my pronouns in my bio. “Go away, leave me alone,” I thought. But why did I think that, anyway?