It’s true. And they’re in Japan. The reason? Because Americans will not follow the rules unless forced. How many American journalists have “accidentally” strayed across the borders of North Korea and Iran where they just happen to be apprehended on their “hiking” trips by border guards? The Japanese know this about Americans and have been forced to design a series of clever interventions which allow them to track the foreigners residing upon Japanese soil. Without the eyes upon us, no one would follow the rules, myself included.
I was completely unaware of this process for tracking the most minute of changes until I became suspicious by a series of demands for alterations to Spouse’s Alien Registration Card. The execution of these edits is cumbersome as none of the ward employees speak English and given the newly arrived status of this alien these interactions are vexatious and extremely difficult to accomplish. My inclination would be not to do them at all as I deem them not important. I am an American, a guest, and not a journalist so I do have to follow the rules. Unfortunately for me, the Japanese government recognizes that the “Head of Household,” is an extremely important and busy person and has deemed that the assistant to the HOH can manage the necessary transactions required to make changes to the Alien Registration Card. All efforts on my part to delegate this noxious duty to another have failed.
Each excrutiatingly painful change took separate trips. Two were routine- establishing the first card for residency and the second for a change of address. The third was more mysterious. HOH completed the original form with his title. A letter arrived in the mail informing us that HOH’s title was incorrect- it needed to be changed. Exactly how did “they” know that? Doesn’t HOH know what his title is? The fourth change was also sinister- the company name change. Had it even been announced?
At this point my weekly visits to the ward officer were giving the impression I had a crush on him. He would give me a big smile and offer a “Genki deska?” when I arrived. He started to come out from behind the counter and pull out my chair.
How was this information getting out? I trained at the foot of the master- my sister in law- CSI Susie. Determined to figure out the route of this funneled information wreaking havoc on my daily routine, I started to think over our daily routines. It all became clear. Looking and listening posts were everywhere:
I wonder what this guy in Sangenjaya saw…