SCHIZO-ALIAS

Musings about Japan and life as a human, a cosplayer, a minority, a music lover, an English teacher.

Forgetting Your Alien Registration Card (“Gaijin Card”)

This past weekend I went to Hiroshima to enjoy a Saturday night girugamesh concert. I really love the band; I’d have to say that they’re up on the same level as L’Arc~en~Ciel as far as my favorite bands go. Even though the band was performing in the much-closer city of Osaka on Wednesday night, I decided to go for Hiroshima instead because it was on a Saturday, and I’d rather not try to rush right after work and commute 1 1/2 hours to Osaka on a school night.

So I got my stuff packed for the weekend and headed out on Saturday morning. It wasn’t until after the hour-long ride to Shin-Kobe station, and then the 80 minute ride on the Shinkansen to Hiroshima, and then getting to the front desk of the hostel where I’d be staying…

…that I realized I had left my Alien Registration Card at home. -_-;

In most cases while in a foreign country, of course your passport is one of the most important things to carry with you. Of course, once you actually move to that country and receive an alien registration card (外国人登録証明書, gaikokujin touroku shoumeisho), you don’t need to carry your passport with you on a regular basis. During my winter trip to Tokyo, I carried both since I was staying away from home for over a week.

But this would be just a weekend; I’d leave Saturday morning, stay one night, and come back Sunday evening. So I decided not to take my passport.

However, I had forgotten that, a few days before, I had taken my “gaijin card” out of my wallet to scan a copy of it for unrelated reasons. After I was done, I had completely forgotten to take it out of the scanner and put it back in my wallet.

Fortunately, the receptionist had no problem with me not having my card, and just asked if I had any other picture ID. I still had my Maryland state ID, so I just showed her that and she said OK. Whew!

After I got up to my room, I started getting ready for the concert at Namiki Junction. After looking at my ticket, I noticed at the bottom that it said I had to pay an additional 500 yen for a drink ticket when entering. Immediately I started feeling concerned about whether I’d be carded when going into the live house. I started thinking up possible explanations and was prepared to plead for them to let me in, showing them that I was of age AND that I wasn’t here in Japan illegally–I had my Japanese health insurance card with my birthday but no picture; my state ID; and the envelope that contained my ticket with my current address on it.

I was a bit relieved after going to Namiki Junction’s website and reading the venue policies. For late night lives, ID is required. But for the girugamesh concert starting at 6:00pm, the only note written was that children 6 and under weren’t allowed. Obviously I’m of age so they wouldn’t need ID for that.

Long story short, I got into the venue and enjoyed the concert with no problems whatsoever. But there were some things during the weekened that I passed on doing just in case I needed to have my gaijin card for it.

So the moral of the story is: Never leave home without your gaijin card. I know some people out there say, “Meh, I never carry it and I’ve never gotten into trouble,” but I wouldn’t advise that you try it. I’ve been carded randomly before, and besides, you’ll still need it if you plan on doing other things like checking into other hotels/hostels, going to a host club, going to a nightclub, or–if you look really young for your age–being in a game center after certain hours. That last one has happened to me before, mainly because the friend I was with looks like she could be in middle school when she’s actually turning 24 this year.

So yeah…that card is important.

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