…Seoul days 2-3…

This post originally appeared on my AikiWeb blog…

Well, I am having a bit of trouble with the visa situation. For a variety of reasons, getting a Tourist Visa in Seoul is impossible for me.

So I have to try to return to Japan tonight and rely on the kindness of the strangers at Japan immigration at Kansai International airport to grant me another 90 day visa waiver.

According to this thread at the GaijinPot forums, there is an unpublished rule of allowing foreigners 180 days of visa waiver time in Japan. So far, I have used 71 days, so I think I should be okay to enter the country again, but you never know.

More distressing, it appears that while in Japan on visa waiver, you cannot convert to another residency status in Japan. In other words, I would have to leave the country to apply for a Work Visa or Cultural Visa. Worse, officially, I am supposed to apply for any visa at the consulate that has jurisdiction for my place of residence. In other words, I am supposed to apply for visas at the Japanese consulate for New York State, back in the USA.

However, the good news is that once you are in Japan, your visa status is negated and your stay is under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Justice rather than the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. So perhaps there is a way for me still to find a work sponsor and then change status. It’s hard to know because the Japanese government seems to be keep its rules clasped close to its chest.

Anyhow, I’ve had a nice little trip to Seoul, eating in Gwangjang market and relaxing at the jimjilbang in the tower shopping complex near the Domdaemung History and Culture Park. My flight is tonight at 9pm, so one more chance to eat and drink at Gwangjang, then on to Incheon International…

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