knees and visas

This post originally appeared on my AikiWeb blog…

I had hoped to use the first weekend for recovery–lots of rest and good proteins and fats. Unfortunately, things didn’t turn out that way. I had to get up at 7am and pop off to Osaka without breakfast, grab fast food for lunch, and generally spend the day stressing my knees more.

The knees are still swollen and stiff. They were a little difficult to bend enough to get into the shower this morning. I was little surprised as I had hoped that the days of swelling were behind me for good. After a quick shower, it was onto the bike for a fast ride down to the JR Kyoto station, then a bunch of train changes, up and down stairs to the platforms, Osaka, reverse in the afternoon and return to Kyoto, then ride the bike uphill into the wind and rain for a meeting with free legal councillors about my visa status. This was not the day of rest for my knees that I had hoped. I sincerely hope the swelling is down more by Monday as I am even higher in seiza now that usual.

The visa advice was pretty much useless. One encouraging piece of news is that they said I wouldn’t have to leave the country in order to change my status and start working once I have a sponsor. However, I don’t have complete confidence in them. It’s difficult in Japan. Japan is a “low-information” society. You only get told what you need to know, and it is often hard to find information without going through a person who acts as a gatekeeper. Is that person telling you everything relevant to your situation or not? It’s always hard to say.

Leaving the visa meeting today, I turned out of the Kyoto International Community House, then headed north toward Heian-jinja under the massive torii gate. As I was passing over a canal flanked by blooming cherry trees, I looked east toward the Higashi-yama mountains, which rear up at the edge of the city. Grey clouds were still hanging low in the sky, but the rain had stopped and mist was rising off the mountainsides. I thought, “I love this town.” And I do. It is beautiful and laid back. It would be a shame to have to leave before the kenshusei course ended just on a visa technicality.

Higashiyama in mist

Higashiyama in mist


Reader James Sawyers at AikiWeb commented on this post:

Even in Kyoto– hearing the cuckoo’s cry– I long for Kyoto Basho would agree with you…