So I've been helping Justin try to get his Journalist Visa for Japan. I wrote a letter and helped him get one which got taken away the when he left Japan last time. Now he is applying for another one and I've written another letter.

Justin Hall

Update: They asked my sponsor, Joichi Ito, to call (because he is Japanese, he might "understand the nuance" they suggested). He did, from Europe. Nice of him. He reports, "They didn't ask me anything, but told me that the Tokyo office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was reviewing your case and that they would then consult the MOJ. That's all they said. They said this is not necessarily standard procedure, but also not uncommon. Maybe the "nuance" they wanted to convey was that they are wrapped up in a bureaucratic mess..."

He needed to come to Tokyo for the game show so he snuck back in. (I don't actually know if he did anything illegal, but it sounds sneaky.) He posted it his sneaking on his web page. In wonder if immigration reads his page. Hmm... I wonder if they read my blog. ;-)
Justin Hall

I had half a breath held at immigration but my two-day-old passport was free of incriminiating stamps or damamge and so I was permitted to enter Japan without a second glance. Adventure can be created by concern, my worry that I was bound to be kept back. So having that relieved made me nearly ecstatic, restraining a loud yell in the airport.

Immigration is the most aweful thing that I ever have to deal with in my life. It impacts taxes, travel and basic human dignity. You have no rights, they don't tell you anything and basically sucks. Anything not to have to deal with immigration is great. That's what is wonderful about traveling in Europe. I RARELY have to every show my passport and have never had a bad experience.
As we all know, the US is terrible. They throw people into little cells and strip search people regularly. At least Justin is unlikely to have that done to him in Japan. (Even if they do see his picture on his site and keep an eye out for him the next time he comes through Narita...)

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Ha ha! I was with him when he paused at the top of the stairs just past the immigration counter and stared at me wide-eyed. "I can't believe they let me in," he said.

I, of course, never had a doubt.

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