Thursday, March 02, 2006

Japan has a long way to go...

I really do love Japan, but there are things about the country that are frustrating, exasperating, tiresome, aggravating, annoying, mind-boggling, and/or disturbing. Something along these lines happened today at work, but that story will have to wait for my next post. For now, I'll share this story from United for a Multicultural Japan.

Japan is going to be undergoing a serious population depletion in the coming years, and they just don't do themselves any favors in the areas of immigration or accomodating foreign residents...

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Mommy's Mug Shot
The UMJ Volume 2.9 (Opinion)
By: Amy Uehara
The other day, my two children and I went to the local city office to get photo copies of my foreign registration file. I needed it for my visa application. You see, I have been married to a Japanese man for 13 years and have thought of Japan as my home since I was 19 years of age. Yet, every three years I need to apply to continue living in this country. I have no intention of divorcing my husband and abandoning my children. I am not listed as living in the same house as they because they are all listed on the JYUMINHYO or the list of household residents. I am not. I am in a separate file. As I am home most of the time and do most of the domestic work, i have taken to calling myself a live-in foreign laborer or SUMIKOMI GAIJIN RODOSHA.

This year, along with my application for the three year visa, I applied for the permanent visa. This allows me to stop having to apply every three years. I will be able to stay in Japan with my childten should my husband die or divorce me. Otherwise it could be very difficult to apply for the one-year guardian visa the Japanese government recently began granting. I still must buy a re-entry permit every time I leave Japan or I will not be able to come back to my home. Even with a permanent visa, I still will not be listed as living with my family together. I am an outsider in my own home. There is no record that I have given birth to my children on my records although I believe I am listed on their birth certificate.They are Japanese nationals. This would change if I changed my citizenship to Japanese. I love my native conuntry and am intent on keeping my citizenship. The other reason would be that a new Japanese citizenship for me would not mean that I could stop being an outsider. When I enter Japan after a trip, I enter through the Japanese line with permission. People stare and I am told that the foreign line is "over there." I tell them that I am allowed to enter through the Japanese line and they look puzzled. This would not change with my exchange of citizenship. It is not yet common knowledge that many foreigners will live and die here as part of this nation's citizenry.

When my son saw my many pictures in the file at the city office, he said, "Mommy, you look like a criminal." The pain in those words ran deep as I looked at my pictures and my finger prints over the years. And my crime was falling in love.

4 comments:

Thomas said...

Hey Jason my name is Thomas, I came accross your blog while researching Gotsu. I am australian, 17, have just finished high school and I am about to attend Gotsu High school as a koukou ninensei/sanensei exchange student... Leaving in three weeks for 2 semesters(10 months) Through AIIU/JFIE, my email is master_llewellyn@hotmail.com, would love to chat!

K said...

OH my god! Thomas found your blog! We are so excited about him coming here but I was told not to contact him until the 9th...

I think it's ok now, don't you??

Phil Knall said...

exactly why so many foreigners start hating japan after living there for 2-3 years... I really hope I don't end up the same way, IF I even make the visa in the first place.

Emily Watkins said...

Where's your story? I wanna hear your story!

I also want a foreign exchange student at my school.