JAPAN

I first visited Japan as part of the Japan Airlines Study Tour back in the summer of 2001. It was a first of many firsts: first trip abroad, first trip without my family, first plane ride, first Visa, first taste of wanderlust. I was already a student of the Japanese language back then, having attended two semesters of basic Japanese, and I was beyond elated to finally be able to put those lessons into practical use.

Needless to say, I didn’t have any problems obtaining a Japanese Visa for this trip. Japan Airlines provided all the necessary documents I needed to present to the Embassy of Japan. In less than a month after I applied for the scholarship, I was on my way to Tokyo, Japan.

Japan Airline Scholarship Program Attendees 2001

Japan Airline Scholarship Program Attendees 2001

It was a whirlwind trip that ended too quickly. The memories that I shared with the good friends that I made there are things that will stay with me for life. It was also the awakening that I needed to know that life should not be spent in just one little corner of the world. There are so many places to see, things to do, and people to meet around the world. It’s better to do all these things while you still can.

Since then, I have been to Japan five more times. Most of these visits were business trips so obtaining a visa was not difficult. There was one time that I visited Japan as a tourist and this required lots of planning and collection of documents.

Basically, you need to go to an accredited agency who handles Japan Visa processing. They will let you know all the required documents you need to submit, then you send these documents to them and they will forward your application to the Japan Embassy.

I had a minor hiccup during this application. After submitting all the required documents, the travel agency called to say that the Embassy required at least P100,000.00 in my bank account. The bank certificate that I submitted only showed P60,000 in my savings account. We were only planning to spend six days in Osaka, so I thought that this was enough. Apparently it wasn’t. So they gave me five days to show another bank account with the additional P40,000.00. Miraculously, I was able to pool some resources and was able to submit another bank certificate, this time for my checking account. Two days later I got my Japan Visa.

I guess the lesson here is always have more money in your bank account that what you think you need. I was lucky because I already had previous Japan Visas on my passport, so maybe that’s why the Embassy gave me a chance. If this had been my first Japan Visa application, I probably would have been denied outright. It goes without saying that your travel history is an integral part of the visa application process.

And here are some pictures! Pics or it didn’t happen, right? šŸ™‚

2002, with my fellow exchange students at Miyajima Park

2002, with my fellow exchange students at Miyajima Park

2003, with college friends Diday and marie

2003, with college friends Diday and Marie at Mt. Fuji

2005, at the World Expo Philippine Pavilion at Aichi, Nagoya

2005, with fellow attendants at the World Expo Philippine PavilionĀ  at Aichi, Nagoya

2007, with Totoro and Neko Bus at Odaiba, Tokyo

2007, with Totoro and Neko Bus at Odaiba, Tokyo

2009, at the Kinkakuji Temple in Kyoto

2009, at the Kinkakuji Temple in Kyoto

I would still like to visit Japan again someday. I still have half of the world to explore, so maybe after I am done with that half I will find myself back in the country that showed me that the world is so much bigger than I thought it was.

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