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Thrill of Victory, Agony of Defeat - The Agony of Defeat

The Agony of Defeat

Basking in a good mood from my providential serendipity with Mr. M., I set out to obtain a multiple-entry “Re-Entry Permit.” This permit allows me to leave the country and return to Japan several times during my 3-year visa. I had originally made the mistake of getting a single re-entry permit, which was used on my recent trip to California. With an upcoming trip to Thailand slated for March, I knew I needed to take care of this business.

I had been told that I could go to the Immigration Office in Kita Yono. Indeed, it was the closest such office to me. So off I went with passport and alien registration in hand. Three train lines and ¥520 later, I was in the Saitama prefecture branch of the Immigration Office. I had my ¥6000 ready to pay for my permit.

So I stood in Line 1, aptly labeled “Information.” There I was handed a re-entry permit application form, which I filled out and signed. Off to Line 2: “Applications.” When I handed my completed form, passport and alien registration card to the clerk, he began to check off if I had everything in order. Everything looked good, at least initially.

Then he warned, “Oh, you live in Tokyo city limits. You cannot apply here. Even though this office is closer to where you live, you must go to Shinagawa to apply there. . . Next?”

I tried to get more information, like where in the world is Shinagawa; but he had already moved on to the next applicant. Even so, I apologized for being in the wrong office. A little dumbfounded, I turned to leave, scanning my Tokyo train map for "Shinagawa." I noticed missionary friends who live 2 minutes by bike from our house. They live just outside Tokyo city limits and were in the right place, unlike me.

When you’re a new missionary, sometimes you just don’t know jack. Today was one of those times.

Realizing Shinagawa was a long way away, and Zack needed to be picked up from school soon, I left for home without a re-entry permit in my passport. That will be a project for another day.

As I stared out the window at neighborhood after neighborhood from the train window heading back to Higashi Kurume (my new hometown nestled just inside the Tokyo city limits), I reflected on my completely wasted trip to Kita Yono.

Trains to Kita Yono and back. . .


Ramen and gyoza lunch. . .


Bicycle parking for the day. . .


Café latte from a vending machine. . .


Sprinkling prayer for God’s kingdom to come
over zillions of neighborhoods I passed. . .


Then again, maybe it was more productive than I first thought.

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