I went to the Chinese Embassy in Tokyo this morning bright and early to apply for my visa. As if it weren’t bad enough that the Embassy is in my favorite part of Tokyo, Roppongi, the real kicker is that the office hours for the consulate division are 9-12, M-F. Yeah. The place is only open for three hours in the morning. Talk about a pain, especially when you live an hour away from the place. I will at least say that of the various government and immigration offices I’ve been to here in Japan (and probably in America too), this embassy was the easiest and quickest to use. I entered, went through the metal detector, and filled out the form I had printed from the website. Luckily I was able to bypass the long-ass line on the first floor, which was for the lone passport-size photo booth. Thank god I had gotten pictures the night before in Chiba. Otherwise this probably would have taken me even longer.
Headed up to the 3rd floor and got a number. I only had about 9 or 10 people in front of me for the visa counter, which wasn’t bad. There were people waiting, some using the copy machine, and some filling out their forms, pasting pictures, etc. I waited less than 30 minutes I’d say, compared with the several hours I’ve waited before at the Chiba immigration office. Apparently 12:00 is the time they stop letting people in, so as long as you’re in the building before that you’re fine. Had a bit of entertainment as some British guy was trying to argue with the lady at the counter about how he’d have to get a new visa once he leaves Shanghai and goes to Hong Kong, since he’s coming back to Shanghai after that. I guess UK passport holders can’t get a multiple entry visa? Not really sure, and of course I don’t know the guy’s situation. I really don’t care either. But as it always is, it was fun to see this guy loose his cool and literally shout “you mean I have to get another bloody visa?” to the poor lady behind the glass window. He huffed and puffed his way out of the room, wheeling his laptop/briefcase on wheels. And yes, you can imagine he’s the tooly kind of middle-aged businessman wearing tight jeans and a blazer as if it’s the officially licensed uniform of international businessmen who think they’re more important than they are as they scream on their Bluetooth headsets. Can’t stand those guys – and they usually travel in packs throughout any airport I’ve been to.
I snickered as I was applying for my visa a few minutes later, since US passport holders can easily apply for a multiple entry visa for the same price as a single entry. Sucks for British Business Man. I was doing my best to joke around and be friendly with the worker lady because I’m sure she has to deal with enough business guys who treat the workers like crap. I am, after all, a man of the people.
However, this man of the people is not happy that he has to go all the way back to the embassy on Monday to pick up his visa.