This morning I decided to pay a trip to the Chinese embassy, to chance my arm at getting a visa for my upcoming trip. I had been told that asking for a tourist visa, rather than a working or business visa, would significantly simplify matters, but I wasn’t overly confident that my passport-sized photograph would be accepted, being that it was taken over 5 years ago when I had a skinhead and weighed about an extra 15kg. Turns out that looking like an extra from a slightly camp TV prison movie was the least of my worries, as allegedly I needed a proof of my itinerary whilst in China. I tried to explain to the woman behind the counter that this had yet to be determined, and was being sorted out by my University, but she was having none of it. Still, at least she didn’t have me arrested for fraud, which given the nature of my photograph had always been a possibility.
The weather today in Tokyo was absolutely atrocious! The trains that I took to the Chinese embassy were all delayed because of the rain, and as a result were horrifically overcrowded. I am yet to determine exactly why it is that the train network in Tokyo comes to a complete standstill when faced with the slightest hint of rain, but I manage to content myself with the fact that at least us Brits get something right; although on reflection could it just be that the incessant delays of the British rail network are a direct result of our depressive weather? At any rate I couldn’t face the return trip in the train, and so took the rather novel decision of catching a bus. Aside from the fact that I was constantly checking out of the window for landmarks, whilst consulting my GPS with something approaching mild panic, it was a wonderful experience. Cheaper, with no inexplicable hold ups, and the opportunity to not only breath, but to actually sit down, made me realise that perhaps I ought to have made more of the bus system since my arrival in Tokyo. That being said, for distances of more than a few km, I don’t think that my iPhone’s batteries would hold out, never mind my nervous system.