A peace piece
I have just spent a ridiculously large amount of money to register and get passports for my kids to go to England. Really how can it cost that much to sign a piece of paper or get a little book for national vanity stamps? The Japanese passport for my kids, which I have to have as well, costs 6,000 yen, the British one (under twelves valid only for 5 years please note) costs 17,000!!!
With the recent good feeling we`ve been generating around the world with our Iraqi exercise in wannabe Americanism and other misadventures, owning a British passport is not quite the boon it used to be so why does it still cost so much?
Don`t even get me started on my wive`s visa for England. Please note consular people she is not an illegal immigrant, or a terrorist, she`s just brave enough to have married me and the application (all in English of course as a sort of pre-screening of the liquistically acceptable) is just not very welcoming.
I love the questions in the application, and I quote:
“5.10 In times of either peace or war have you ever been involved in, or suspected of involvement, in war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide?”
“5.11 Have you ever been involved in, supported, or encouraged terrorist activities in any country? Have you, (the comma is theirs not mine) ever been a member of, or given support to an organisation that has been concerned in terrorism?”
I mean who is going to answer yes to those questions? It`s a waste of paper, bad for the environment and just daft. And the English is a bit dodgy too!
Worst of all it costs 500 quid!!!
I know we have too much immigration and we need to cut it down and we need to make sure that applicants are genuine and all that but surely an interview and background checks can do all that. Cutting immigration just by making ordinary people with no war crimes history or terrorist sympathies give up their ambition to come to my, sometimes great, country because they can no longer be arsed with all the hassle is really the wrong way to go about it. I mean if you`re asking questions like the one above it means that there has to be some degree of such acts at which immigration is still acceptable and possible. And that can`t be right can it?
But bitching aside there was one funny thing about all this paperwork today. Getting my sons` passport photos taken was hard work this morning and I forgot I need to get them counter signed yet. But one thing at a time, early today, at the station on the way to nursery school we stopped off to take 4 little square pictures each of 2 little cute boys. easy no? No! The photomachines stool was not high enough so we ended up holding them up, balancing them on our shoulders, but, and this is very important, don`t smile, mouth closed, eyes front and open. My hands must not visible of course and don`t press that button Sola!!!!…oh, too late. So another 700 yen and the same balancing act all again; and to my eldest son, Sola, having lived the full Japanese culture: assimilating all the habits, ticks and mores of Japanese youth, for his four and half years of life here, absolutely no bloody peace signs.
That`s all for now