Saturday, October 3, 2020

Life in Japan: a Milestone

No, I haven’t bought another GT-R (just yet), but if you enjoy reading this blog this post may still be relevant. In short, after 13 years living here, I have finally become a Permanent Resident of Japan. Why am I blogging about it? Well, simply because this platform is first and foremost a personal diary and this is a life-changing milestone, but also because I always wanted to share bits and pieces of life in Japan rather than just cars. After all I don’t think this blog would be nearly as interesting if I wasn’t living here.

So, what does this mean? If you have ever visited Japan you’ll know that a 3-months visa is granted to anybody who comes here on holiday. Long Term Residents can live in Japan from 1 up to a max of 5 years thanks to different type of visas that are usually linked to one’s profession or marital status. That though means that your stay in Japan depends on either your job or your wife (scary!), but also that, no matter what, once your visa is up you will need to apply for another one and the length of it might be changed depending on your circumstances. Trust me, there is something subtly unnerving about having to “ask for permission” to live in the country you call home, but that’s life as immigrant for you. 

Permanent Resident status however grants you the right to live in Japan forever (regardless of your professional or marital status), as long as you are a good citizen contributing to society. Basically, from a pure immigration standpoint, you are considered equal to a Japanese National, which is why PR is viewed by foreigners as the holy grail of all passport stamps. Needless to say the requirements to be eligible are pretty strict: you will need at least 10 years of living consecutively here, as many years of flawless tax payments and a plethora of documents that traces back to your education and first entries in the county. The authorities will even check if you caught speeding tickets! To top it all the screening process takes about one year, during which you are pretty much holding your breath...

And so, here we are, and on a serious note I must say that this is a proud moment for me: if you’d told that 21 year old Italian kid who boarded on an economy flight to Tokyo for a 3 months internship in the hot summer of 2007 he would have never believed you. Not everything is for sale and the journey to get here was nothing short of incredible. Hopefully this post didn’t bore you too much, but if you are here for the car content now you can rest assured that I (and my GT-R) will be here for very, very long time.

Until next time.

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