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More on carrying your gaijin card, and where to find Indian temples

by Ashley Thompson

In our Oct. 25 column, “To carry or not to carry your ‘gaijin card’ upon re-entry?” we wrote about the importance of carrying your alien registration card and the possibility of being asked to present it when re-entering Japan. We also asked if anyone has been refused entry into Japan or experienced any problems as a result of not carrying or showing their ARC.

Crinto says that he was “severely reprimanded” for not having his gaijin card before being allowed to leave Narita airport:

“I explained that I didn’t bring it because I didn’t want to lose it and crime, such as theft, is more of a problem in other countries. I’m not sure if it was my explanation that got me through or whether I would’ve gotten through with just a few sumimasens and wakarimashitas. “

Some readers in the Oct. 25 column suggested it is a better idea to leave your card in Japan when going abroad, but Jerry disagrees:

“I don’t really think the argument about potentially losing it washes really. Most of us carry other cards and/or documents with us most of the time anyway. They have an equal chance of being lost.

“I couldn’t stand any sort of potential hassle when re-entering. My card is always in my wallet. To change my daily system of having it on my person at all times would make me feel uncomfortable. No matter what the exact official requirements are for carrying/presenting the card, there’s always someone who will misunderstand and ask for it.

“I don’t like hassle and I’m not one those whining types that’s always bleating on about his rights. If it’s a harmless enough situation to ‘flash the card,’ I’ll use it. To me it’s a very useful tool to have about my person, whether I need it or not.”

As we’ve said before, you’re legally required to carry your card at all times in Japan anyway, so leaving and re-entering Japan without it is to be done at your own risk.

Reader SS wants to know if there are Indian temples in Tokyo.

Mani, of Indian Community Activities Tokyo (www.manicat.org/main.html), says not to worry: “Broadly our faith is the same as Japanese and we go to Japanese temples/shrines for prayers. Our family has been here for more than 35 years and we are very happy following this system.”

However, he also offered the following two suggestions, one in Tokyo, the other along Kanagawa’s Shonan bay.

ISCKON Temple (Hare Krishna Temple) is at 2-23-4 Funabori, Edogawa Ward, Tokyo 134-0091 (phone (03) 3877-3000, (090) 2915-9613, (080) 3553-4588 or (080) 5412-2528; email iskcon.new.gaya.japan@gmail.com (English) or iskcon.madhu@gmail.com (Japanese); websites at www.iskconjapan.com (English) and www.krishna.jp (Japanese)).

You can find the Ramakrishna Mission (Nippon Vedanta Kyokai) at 4-18-1 Hisagi, Zushi City, Kanagawa 249-0001 (phone (046) 873-0428, email info@vedanta.jp or visit www.vedanta.jp)

If you know of any others, please let us know.

Abdul Suleman is looking for a friend he worked with in Yokohama for eight years, until 1996: “His name is Hiyoshi Yamagishi and he worked in the Chuo linen supply JR group.”

Abdul can be contacted by email at younusmundiya@hotmail.com.

Ashley Thompson writes survival tips and unique how-tos about living in Japan at www.survivingnjapan.com. Send all your questions to lifelines@japantimes.co.jp