August 26th, 2006

Day 32: I'm coming home

This morning Mateo and I were woken up by the staff at our guesthouse and heading to the Bangkok Airport at around seven am. We got there with time to spare and boarded the plane to Hong Kong. The flight was relaxing and we got into HK without a hitch.

Mateo started feeling a bit under the weather, though, and spent most of our three hours in the HK Airport relaxing. I walked around and looked at all the shops and cafes. It is a very nice airport, one of the better looking ones I have ever flown into. It trumps the Bangkok and Kansai airports bar none.

The plane ride into Kansai was uneventful. The best part about it was that when we were flying into KIX the captain turned off all the cabin lights so you could really see all the lights of the night city as we flew into the Kinki region of Japan. It was beautiful, and it was at that point that I realized I really missed Japan. I love it here. There are good days and bad days, but I truly enjoy living in this country, and I am glad that I am back.

I was a bit worried about getting back into the country, since I don’t have any documentation to get either a work visa or a dependent visa, so I had to get a 90-day tourist visa to enter the country. I was worried that I would be stopped at immigration because of my situation, so when I was in Bangkok I called the Japanese Embassy in Thailand and asked them about getting a dependent visa. It turns out that if you want a dependent visa you have to get the same piece of paperwork that you need for a work visa, called a Certificate of Eligibility (C.O.E.). The reason I don’t have a C.O.E. for my new ALT job in Miyoshi (I am taking over my wife’s old ALT position) is that the company I will be working for, ALTIA Central, has not gotten the C.O.E. back from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) yet. It seems that MOFA has been really slow issuing C.O.E.s as of late. So here I am stuck with a tourist visa for 90 days. Wit any luck I will be able to change it into a work visa soon, but I might have to take a long weekend to Pusan, Korea to apply for the visa. I have heard that you cannot change your visa status from tourist to work from within Japan. We will see soon enough.

The first thing I did when I got out of the immigration area was to call Signe, my lovely wife. It was very nice hearing her voice again. I really miss her. I have to be in Nagoya for three days at a training seminar for my new job, but I really want to be back home with her. She just came off a ten-day intensive Japanese language course in the capital of Shimane, Matsue with 20 of the other new JET ALTs. It sounds like she is making a lot of new friends and I am looking forward to getting to know them all myself.

We took the Haruka Airport Express train from the airport, which is on a man-made island off the coast, into Kyoto station. The train ride takes about two hours and we got to the station at about 11:30 pm. A short subway ride to the Imperial Palace and a kilometer of walking later and we were at our hostel, the Uno House. Unfortunately there was no staff on call, since it was past midnight, so we had to call someone in. Mateo was still feeling sick, so we chose to get a little pricier room than the open dormitory room. Mateo is a very light sleeper and feeling sick and all didn’t want to be woken up a lot at night by people moving around.

Well, we made it. Thirty-one days in Southeast Asia. I have one more day here in Kyoto and then I head up to Nagoya to a three-day seminar, and then finally home. This will be my last entry for “Mateo and trv’s Southeast Asian Excursion: A Darryl’s Guide to Thailand and Cambodia.” I hope you enjoyed reading.

Thanks for reading. And...

Until next time, take care. :)


Postscript: Mateo and I have been taking one photo a day this entire trip (there have been about three two photo days, but they have been the exception, not the rule). When we get these developed I will be working on editing them into a photo book with these journal entries using Shutterfly’s Photo Book tool ( If you are interested in getting a copy, let me know through the electronic mail system. You can contact me by clicking on the “trv” link in “Written by trv” on the right side of
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