May. 22nd, 2012

forever_wandering: (EW!)
I received a comment yesterday, and this morning I woke up to a message from someone asking me just how I managed to stay in Japan for so long without a "Legal Visa," so I thought I'd write about it because I don't want people to think I'm one of those illegal girls who do whatever to stay in Japan. I also wanted to point out that: 

  I am not currently in Japan and will not be back there until December.   

This person is absolutely right and I in no way condone staying past your legally allowed time. So, I travel in and out of Japan on a student visa, despite the fact that I finished studying at my university in 2010. Uh oh. Isn't that illegal? It is. So why do I do it? Here we go. 

I spent a year studying at a school in Yokohama, and then, in order to live with my boyfriend, I requested to be transfered to one of my University's sister campuses in Osaka. I studied, he worked. After a while though, my savings began to run low (Despite the monthly scholarship I received,) because I was always shopping and drinking. I told my guy I wanted to earn my own money so I didn't have to borrow money from him. 

But Zia! You didn't have a workers Visa. You had a student Visa!  
This means I couldn't work unless it was either [A] A job on campus, [B] A job authorized by my school because it's somehow related to my major. My guy spoke to some friends and was able to find me a part-time job at one of his friend's parent's mom&pop restaurant. Before I accepted the offer, I spoke to my counselor to make sure I wouldn't get in to too much trouble. My request was approved and filed with both my school and the Immigration office. I worked 20 hours a week. 

Sure, it didn't make me rich, but it gave me enough to have my fun without having to bother people for money and it also allowed me to work on my Japanese .  
In February 2011, My SO and I had a fight over where our relationship was going and I left, deciding it was best to think things over without having to see him every day. My plan was vacation for a month and once I had a clear head and plan, go back to Osaka and work things through with him. However, then...Well, we all know what took place in March, and I lost him in a case of "being in the wrong place at the wrong time." (I went in to details on what happened when I restarted my blog, so I won't re-explain here, but if you need the deets for some reason, I'll go in to it.) I didn't return to Japan until May 2011. When I was re-entering the country, the man who checked my passport told me I was still on a student visa, so next time it would be better to just go through the other line for those re-entering, instead of the one for those entering for the first time. Since I had finished studying in February, I hadn't even considered my Visa was still useful. 

I explained this to the man. I explained that I had finished my term months prior, however, all the man did was point out my visa and point out the date on it. I nodded, thanked him and moved on. After that, I moved in and out of Japan three more times, using the student visa each time to enter. Not once did it pose to be a problem. 

+Working Visa: Never had one. 
+Spouse Visa: Not married, so...self explanatory=) 

+Student Visa: I was not currently studying, but as I was cleared by Immigration and Customs, *I* didn't enter illegally or stay illegally. 

Just to cover my own tail (As I always do), I spoke to one of my friends to find out if I was simply misunderstanding the situation with my Visa. He told me that there was still a small chance I could get in trouble, since technically I wasn't studying anymore, however, Immigration was usually more concerned with cracking down on people who stay past expired Visa dates than people who were still technically on a Visa. To be on the safe side, I did not work on these occasions.

"If there's a trick I don't know of how to stay in Japan without working, studying or being married,I'd surely love to know about that!" 
(And from the message I received) "I'd love to know how you make it work! I really wanna live in Japan but I don't think I can get a long visa and I don't wanna get pregnant just to stay!" 

You could save, save, save all your money and then go there on a tourist visa, then live under the radar, which I have seen many people do. Obviously I'm not serious about this, but it's a way to do it =) Aside from that, I have no idea how. I've never actually lived in Japan without working or Studying. 
Don't get pregnant. That's stupid. If you really want to live there, get an education, study abroad, find legal means to do it. No matter what you think, living there illegally has the same draw-back as living illegally in the US or any country. 

My current Visa expires next year. In order to re-new it, I need to find a job or simply keep a tourist visa. While in the US, I've been re-thinking what I actually want and what actually needs to be done. In December, I will go back and begin piecing my Japan life back together. 

Anyway: Point of the post. 
Don't be a jerk and make the rest of us foreigners look bad. Thanks. 




"An ugly duckling growing out of her feathers."

Hello. I'm Zia, and this is most obviously my journal. I write about my life between Japan and the US, and all the adventures I find myself in. People often say they are envious of the life I seem to live, but the truth is, I feel a little unsatisfied with it myself, so I've decided to do something about it--to find what really makes me happy. Hopefully by documenting my life, I can figure out where I need to be heading. This journal is my way of opening my world to those around me in hopes of meeting people searching for the same thing or encountering people who have already gone through this kind of struggle. 

Back in my high school days, I used to be a bit of a nerd. I was really in to comic books of all kinds, action figures...all that jazz.  These days, though my interest in comic books re-surfaces every so often, I'm very much more in to things like fashion, dance, music, travel, tea, baking, writing letters, photography, animals and fitness. I'm a straight shooter--meaning I do not (or rather, can not?) lie. Keeping up with lies is too much trouble. 

Anyway, there is more information about me on my profile. Feel free to take a look there or catch me on another site★


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