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My passport has reached the end of its useful life after 9 years and 8 months. I've sent it in to be renewed.

So for the next indefinite amount of time I am without proof of existence. Although I do have my "gaijin card" to prove my residence in Tokyo, it doesn't do me much good beyond the borders of Japan. So no bad behaviour and no travel until my new passport appears.

Before I mailed my passport to the Embassy (who in turn sends it on to the Passport Agency in the US who processes it in approximately 4 weeks then returns it to the Embassy who mails it back to me), I counted the number of times I've entered Japan.

I guessed a dozen. I was wrong. I've been allowed into Japan 24 times.

Can hardly wait to get my new passport and increment by one.

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Last year when I renewed mine, they sent my application back because they now require a white background, as they now scan and send the photos back to Washington digitally. I couldn't find a photo shop nearby that didn't do passports with a gray background, so I ended up doing it myself.

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  • Nils: Last year when I renewed mine, they sent my application read more