For those of you who are easily impressed, the following was typed out entirely on my keitai on the long bus ride home. I think I was slightly feverish.
I’ve been away since last Friday, when Nam and I went to the US Consulate General and the Thai Embassy, both located in Osaka. Our purpose was to get Certificates of Competency to Marry (The fact that one must swear on their “competency to marry” on paper really bothers me for some reason, but it’s not really worth going into. Suffice to say that it’s stupid in concept, and completely meaningless in reality.), and I took the day off so we could ride the early bus from Awaji and get there when the doors opened at 9:00AM.
Imagine my delight when we got to the American consulate on schedule, only to find a it a complete zoo outside the front doors. People outside were trying to get in but were being pushed into semi-lines by a security guards, all being watched over by the cops assigned embassy duty. It was kind of a slap in the face after not having been to an American embassy for a while – in a crowd of unhappy people with problems, where the air smells of desperation. Luckily, I know what to do in that situation, I raised my absolutely beautiful US passport high up in the air, screamed I’M AN AMERICAN! MOVE, MOTHERFUCKERS!, which parted the crowd very nicely, and made a beeline for the front door, dragging my very reluctant and embarrassed future wife along by the arm. The door guard checked my passport and asked if I liked apple pie and Bruce Springsteen, to which I correctly responded, “a-la-mode! and the Boss fucking rules!” Hearing the secret words got him pumped up, and he gave me a high five. As we entered the building, I glanced over my shoulder to see him spraying mace over the crowd like canned confetti and cracking random heads with his baton while shouting AMERICA, FUCK YEAH!
On a more positive tip, the vice consul signed my documents and was a rather nice man. He gave me a tip for filling out a warden registration form: To make sure I wrote Nam’s name down as well, so that in an emergency situation he could “order the helicopter to pick up your wife as well, even though she’s not American.” FUCK YEAH!
With the American paperwork out of the way, it was time to tackle the Thai side of the equation. We had a sort-of appointment for the afternoon at the embassy, so we ate lunch first. I say “sort-of” because even though it was a real appointment, that kind of stuff doesn’t really matter in Thailand a lot of the time. People show up hours late for appointments, and it’s considered normal. Of course, this sucks when you need actually need something done on time, so we went in an hour earlier than scheduled. The Thai embassy was – how can I state this – so very laid back. The staff was friendly, the diplomatic bigwigs sat along with everyone else in a common workspace instead of getting fellated, or signing peace treaties, or whatever it is those dudes actually do in their offices.
The real surprise was the seemingly complete absence of security staff or protection details of any kind in the whole building, especially since the embassy is located directly above the Osaka branch of Bangkok Bank – if the ambassador is ever taken hostage there to cover a bank job downstairs, just remember that I predicted it first (and I also hereby reserve the rights for use of this plot in a really bad B-movie directed by Germans).
In the end, we successfully completed the first round of marriage paperwork. The rest of the weekend was basically spent cursing the miserable weather, which tainted everything we tried to do. For instance, T’s band opened for a rave on Mt. Kasuragi where they expected up to 2,000 people; the actual number was in the double digits, including staff. On a more positive tip, there was so much natural fog complimenting the rain that they didn’t need a fog machine. I felt slightly guilty for waking up my little brother in the morning and coercing him into go with us: But you GOTTA come man, it’s ROCK ‘N ROLL! FUCK YEAH!