Tuesday, February 22, 2011

on identification

Last week I went to renew my driver's license. The process is a big hassle, but it got me thinking about forms of ID that I use.

Lots of people in Japan don't drive at all, are what is called a "paper driver". They're scared to get on the road, don't own cars, yet have the "gold" license, the reward for a longstanding excellent driving record. But people use their driver's licenses as ID cards.

Often when I travel domestically, hotels ask me for my passport. Not only do they request it, they want to photocopy it too. This pisses me off, because Japanese citizens aren't asked for a passport when they go to a hotel, and are often not asked for any identification at all. And I make a point of NOT carrying my passport unless I am traveling overseas – I don't need another excuse to lose it. In fact, domestic flights don't require any kind of ID at all – when I went to Sapporo a few weeks ago, I showed zero ID when checking in, going through security, and boarding the plane. So I leave it safely locked up at home.
I do tote my gaijin card, though, because it's required by law (even though a cop supposedly needs a legitimate reason to ask me to see it). But more often then not, when asked to produce a piece of identification, I whip out my DL.

I find that I get a different reaction using my DL than using my alien card. Using the alien card, people speak English to me, want to make copies, request my passport, and generally act befuddled. Using my DL, people tend to speak Japanese and take it in stride. I get fewer awkward interactions and fewer invasive requests. I chalk this up to a few things:
a. people are more used to dealing with driver's licenses, they know what to do with them
b. people see a DL and figure I'm not a tourist
c. without the big flashing GAIJIN sign (my face aside), people feel more able to treat me normally
d. people probably figure that if I'm able to drive, I can understand how to fill out a GD hotel check in form

Any other guesses? What's your experience? I definitely prefer using my DL as ID, it makes me pissed off quite a bit less.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

you'll put your eye out

Last weekend I went to Sapporo with Beth. She's on the ball and posted about it already, over here. And we met up with Sarah and met some of the characters on her website, including The Boyfriend and Sophia. And I want to get back to that, and I will, but let me ask you:
Have any of you tried the double eyelid glue? Wherein you put glue on your eyes? It sounds horrifying, but it can't be that much worse than fake eyelash glue, right? Which is uncomfortable and not something I like to do unless I'm getting up ridiculous, but I still have both of my orbs. Just wondering how this works. It's only 100 yen, and it's almost sold out! I hope someone can tell me if this is a successful and worthwhile product.

Friday, February 11, 2011

tanuki boner

This is my contribution to Sarah's collection of cute construction barrier stands. I've also seen the frogs and rabbits... but I think I win because mine has a boner. 
I have a lot of stuff to show you and lots of time so I have no excuse. I'll... get around to it. How about this snow, huh?

Friday, February 04, 2011

to the snow

I'm headed north again this weekend. I wrote a preview to the snow festival over at CNNGo.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Pure Café

Thought I posted about this place before, but blogger's search function sux and so does my track record with tagging things correctly.

Pure Café in Omotesando is a super healthy and yummy vegan place in the Aveda building, where I would spend all my fancy money if I had it.
This is pumpkin soup, salad, and a roasted vegetable and tempeh sandwich, in the lunch set.