09 August 2007


Well, due to some grave ineptitude, my visa to Bangladesh is currently hanging in the balance. The source of this ineptitude is my Japanese travel agency which is unable (apparently) to understand the art of putting pressure on a government official. Or, even simpler, talking to someone other than the person at the visa counter. Please, learn at my feet:

This is a classic problem in the Land of the Rising Sun. One goes to a government office and the guy at the window, who passed a government entrance exam 10 years ago and has been drinking tea since then, tells you no. No they can't do this, or no they can't do that. Just simply no. And generally, given the passivity in this culture, most people accept that.

Fortunately, in these situations, you have to push a little bit and talk to more than the person at the window and you can get whatever you want. This is basically (as far as I can decipher) the problem at the Bangladeshi Embassy right now. There's a shitload of problems in that country so the answer for everyone is no. Except that they have already given permission to the rest of my team, and the person at the window just hasn't gotten that memo yet. So my travel agent just needs to investigate a little harder and talk to someone else in the office. Instead? I get this e-mail:
1. Please let me know your family's name in Japan.
2. Please let me know your school's president name.
3. Please let me know local contact(address, name, if he or she is your friend, need connection with you.)
All of this completely unrelated to my visa claim and unintelligible.

The bottom line? Stay out of countries where you need a visa and don't ask a Japanese to elbow for you.
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