VAF Nightmares… or not!

I’m sure everyone has heard about the horrors of preparing a visa application to enter another country. I’ve seen the complaints of many on Facebook and I’ve heard first-hand of the troubles my friend, D, went through when trying to enter the UK. Needless to say, I was filled with dread at the prospect of receiving, completing, and returning my visa application to Montreal within a two week time frame.

Turns out, these fears were completely unnecessary! Cue happy dancing.

Maybe this is just the case for Canadian JETs, but my visa application form was a mere two pages long. The form was pretty basic: name, DOB, current address, nationality, passport info, and the reason and length for my visit to Japan. Perhaps the most difficult part of the form was having to fill in the name and address of my Contracting Organization, simply because I didn’t have this information on hand. I checked “no” in a bunch of boxes, glued on one 45mm x 45mm passport-type photo, and – ta-da! – my visa application form was finished.

Seriously.

The Montreal JET Desk was a huge help in making this process so simple. In the email, they included a sample application form that we could use as reference. They had also filled out a lot of the JET-related fields, such as CLAIR’s info as our Guarantor in Japan, and gave us hints on what to write in some fields, such as the purpose of our visit.
* It’s interesting to note that we must write “1 year” for our “Intended length of stay in Japan,” even if we plan to re-contract and stay longer.

I will be mailing my forms, with my passport included, off to the Montreal JET Desk tomorrow via registered mail. Hopefully it will arrive in Montreal by July 15 (the due date)!

One more thing off of my checklist… Good thing, seeing as there’s only 32 days ’til Japan!

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Everything’s coming up roses

I got an e-mail on Friday night from the Nippon Travel Agency, telling me that my flights had been booked. It’s official – I leave Halifax on August 2, arrive in Montreal just in time for Pre-Departure Orientation, then it’s off to Toronto on August 3 for the direct flight from YYZ-NRT, arriving in Tokyo on August 4! Eeee~

Now, to book my flight from home to Halifax on August 1…

I don’t want to jinx it, but things are falling into place nicely. I found out today that my apartment requires no key money – hallelujah! That’s a significant amount of money in my pocket. I also learned that there are ballet classes that I can take in Yurihonjo! Unfortunately, there is no dance club at my school, but I am really excited to know that I can continue dancing while I am in Japan.

The more I hear from my pred and the more I learn about my placement, the more excited I am to make the move to Japan!

41 days to go!

Much ado about… nothing.

I feel like I haven’t done anything in the last week to get ready for Japan. (Well, unless you count studying Japanese. Or getting my hair coloured and cut. But I don’t count them.) I have no excuse; I just don’t know what I should be doing!

I have not received any contact from my Contracting Organization (CO) or my Board of Education (BOE) yet. Fortunately, I am not the exception – a lot of people haven’t heard from their CO/BOE yet, either. Unfortunately, that means that I don’t have any details on my placement beyond the fact that it’s in Yurihonjo. I have been e-mailing two lovely departing Yurihonjo JETs, but because my exact placement is not official, I don’t know which one (if either of them) is my predecessor. I also have not heard much from my Consulate about pre-departure. I have seen a number of people on the forums and other blogs receiving visa application forms and flight info from their Consulates, but those of us with Montreal have not been as lucky yet.

The waiting game continues!

With all of the waiting, I really don’t know how I should be using my time. I can’t pack – I need my suitcases for two more trips before I leave for Japan. I’ve also discovered that there’s a limit to the number of lists that I can make before I start to go crazy. I probably should be getting pictures and other show-and-tell items ready for my self-introduction lesson (jikoshoukai), but…

One useful thing that I actually have done is I mailed my Yakkan Shoumei application to CLAIR in Japan. For those who don’t know, the Yakkan Shoumei certificate is required by those who want to bring more than a month’s worth of a medication with them to Japan. Although the Montreal Pre-Departure Calendar said that the forms had to be mailed by June 21, when I double-checked, our Coordinator told me that that date is just a recommendation. However, the forms do have to be in Japan at least three weeks before our arrival. This timeline ensures that they can be processed and mailed back to our Consulate in time for our departure. Due to the fact that I live in Newfoundland and things take FOREVER to get off the island, I mailed mine last week.

The forms themselves actually weren’t too bad to fill out. Be prepared to do a lot of research into your medication, including knowing the company (and country!) by which is it manufactured and all active ingredients/their quantities. As well, make sure you have a copy of your prescription and proof of your arrival date in Japan! I basically followed the examples in the GIH to a T. Turns out my medication is made by a Japanese company and is actually sold in Japan, so I’m hoping that means my Yakkan Shoumei will go through without a hitch!

My fingers are crossed that I will hear from my CO/BOE/Consulate soon… After all, there are only 46 days ’til Japan!