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I spent the night in Kansai International last night and re-read Twigger's Angry White Pyjamas. In the early morning, I caught the flight to Incheon and then the train, which I guess is the Seoul train (sorry).
I don't know what's going on, but the Japanese embassy was blockaded by tractor-trailer trucks with police standing about.
The consular services are actually in another building, though, so I was able to see the visa office. I was told that the embassy "cannot" give me a visa because, as an American, I am eligible for the Japanese "visa waiver" program, which is basically a visa on arrival. An important difference is that a Tourist Visa can be converted into a Work Visa from within Japan, while a waived visa status cannot be, requiring that you leave and stay out of the country while the Work Visa is processed.
(Americans are not eligible for Working Holidays in Japan.)
This is bascially the same thing they told me in Hong Kong when I first came to Japan, except in Hong Kong they told me they "would not" process my visa since I was eligible for visa waiver.
So I am a little stuck. I will go back tomorrow to see if I get a different clerk who can answer my questions differently.
So tonight I am off to Gwangjang market for dinner. It is a giant covered street with all manner of food vendors selling their wares. Last time I was in Seoul, I had a platter of raw squid and then parts of pig head. Quite good with rice wine. You can see the snouts of the pig head in this photo:
After Gwangjang it is back to my tower, which has the jimjilban as well as a 24-hour movie theater. If only there was something good on...