To: Crecente From: Ashcraft
For all those preconceptions that Japan is xenophobic, Japanese immigration is surprisingly easy to deal with. (Well, if you are American! I imagine Korean and Chinese people have different experiences.) I'm in the midst of renewing my visa and going to start the process of applying for a permanent resident visa. Why a permanent resident visa? It makes things like getting a home loan possible. Not being able to get a home loan is a real bummer, and banks here are leery of lending to people without permanent residence. But a permanent resident visa opens all those doors for you — and opens them wide. In short, it's the closest you can come to becoming a citizen without becoming a citizen. Best part? You don't have to renew this visa. Once you got it, you got it. (And no, I'm not interested in being a Japanese citizen at this point as I like being American thankyouverymuch.)I called immigration this morning, and the man I spoke with was very encouraging and positive. You need to be married at least five years. Having a kid helps as well. He said the process might take up to six months, though! The government has to go through your records, make sure you check out. Personally, I think me not being a regular Japanese dude is kinda stressful on my wife. She hasn't said as much, but I think it's harder no doubt. There are some here in Japan who think that international marriages are "cool" and whatnot. Somewhat superficial thinking! Jumping through all these hoops is somewhat of a drag. We're totally ready settle down and move out of this apartment. All in good time, all in good time.