Japan's red tape, true to form
I don't know anyone who enjoys filling out forms. I'm not a fan, I just tolerate it.
You kinda have to here. Being foreign and employed in Japan means the paperwork keeps on coming. I don't think I've gone a month since I got here without having to write something out for official purposes.
Getting a new SIM card meant a form to complete. Of course it did. Not a big deal, just a bog-standard application. It wasn't a super long form, so I expected Japanese efficiency to come through for me.
What I didn't count on was Japanese attention to detail.
I sent my ID along with the filled-in form, and got a rejection. "We couldn't confirm your identity." - no detail, no hints. I sent the ID again, a clearer picture this time. "We couldn't confirm your identity."
As if I'm a mind reader.
My next tactic was a 'WTF' email to customer service, Japan-style. This has to be worded in a certain way to be effective. Luckily I know a little of how that works.
Do excuse me, but this is terribly inconvenient, I do wonder what it could possibly be that I did wrong. It's clearly a mistake on my part, but gosh darned if I can work out what that might be. Please kindly explain because I am such a blithering idiot.
That worked. "There's a mistake in your address, it doesn't match your ID card."
Oh, well then I'll fix it. Could've told me that in the first place. So what exactly's up with this... Did I leave a kanji out by accident? Make a typo in the postcode?
On Japanese addresses, you put down the district, the area number within it, the block number and the building number. The numbers after the district are typically separated by dashes. It looks like this:
I checked all the kanji leading up to the ku. Nothing missing. I checked the ku. It was the right ku. I checked the numbers. They were the right numbers. BUT. On my ID card, it's written like this:
With kanji between the numbers. Because I'd used dashes - like every other goddamned person in this country does - they'd flagged my address as not matching.
I retyped that bit of the address through gritted teeth and with clenched fists. I uploaded the same ID photos I'd used the first time round. 2 days later:
"Your application's been approved."
Over a week of delays, because of 3 dashes. I've never encountered anything like it. So nitpicky, they should branch out into head lice treatments.
I'd call someone and complain, but I still don't have that SIM card yet.