Friday, 29 March 2013

The Trial

Franz Kafka, 1925 [Idris Parry, 1994]
(March 2013)



When we moved out of our last apartment the landlord sent round an agent to give the place a once over before we got the deposit back. We’d had an unexpectedly good relationship and it was relatively painless. I’d geed myself up for a bit of an argument, so the fact that he didn’t even try to gouge us on the price for a new set of tatami mats was almost a disappointment. He did, though, charge us for a new internal door and sadly I could have no complaints about that.
  
So I’d been back in Japan for maybe a couple of months. We’d sorted all the usual business with hanko stamps, bank accounts, alien registration and the like, and I was feeling confident and tried signing up for a gym. I filled in the reams of paperwork (No, I really don’t want a gym branded credit card if it’s all the same to you), stamped my stamp, then sent off the direct withdrawal form to the bank.

Two weeks later it comes back with a little sticky note attached. My name’s wrong, apparently, so despite the hanko matching they can’t process anything. Hmm, makes you wonder what the point of the hanko is in the first place if it can’t act as proof of identity, but when in Rome. Fill it in again, this time including my middle name, and off it goes once more.

Two weeks later it comes back with a little sticky note attached. My name’s wrong, apparently, so despite the hanko matching they can’t process anything. Hmm, makes you wonder what the point of the hanko is in the first place if it can’t act as proof of identity, but when in Rome. Fill it in again, this time reversing my name order, and off it goes once more.

Two weeks later it comes back with a little sticky note attached. My name’s wrong, apparently, so despite the hanko matching they can’t process anything. Hmm, makes you wonder what the point of the hanko is in the first place if it can’t act as proof of identity. Fill it in again, this time in romaji, and off it goes once more.

Two weeks later it comes back with a little sticky note attached. My name’s wrong, apparently, so despite the hanko matching they can’t process anything. Hmm, makes you wonder what the point of the hanko is in the first place. Fill it in again, this time changing something, maybe, because I’ve lost track of all the various permutations of names and alphabets I may or may not have already tried, and off it goes once more.

Two weeks later it comes back with a little sticky note attached. My name’s wrong, apparently, so despite the hanko matching they can’t process anything. Hmm. Fill it in again, this time starting to doubt my own identity and existence as a separate, sentient being. Who is this person they need a name from? Maybe it’s not really me? Maybe I’m not really me? Maybe I’m the imposter? How could I, how could they, how could anyone know for sure? Who am, in a very real sense, I? And off it goes once more.

Two weeks later it comes back with a little sticky note attached. FUCK YOU. FUCK YOU AND YOUR SHITTY LITTLE NOTE. IT’S ME. IT’S CLEARLY FUCKING ME! HOW MANY FUCKING TIMES? DO YOU WANT ME TO SIGN IT IN FUCKING BLOOD? LOOK! I’M DOING IT! IF IT’S BLOOD YOU WANT THEN IT’S BLOOD YOU’LL FUCKING GET. Arseholes. All I want is a squat-rack. Is that too much to ask? And off it goes once more.

Two weeks later it comes back with a little sticky I WILL KILL YOU IN YOUR SLEEP. YOU AND ALL YOUR FAMILY. I WILL DO YOUR CHILDREN FIRST AND MAKE YOU WATCH I SWEAR TO GOD.

Later that day I get a call from the British consulate. The Certificate of No Impediment they issued to me – the one I had to pay thousands of yen for, the one I had to travel to Osaka and back for the sake of a 2 minutes conversation for, the one that cost me days worth of time and money – has a spelling mistake. In my name. It won’t actually affect the transliteration into katakana, but there might be issues at the ward office when we try to register our marriage. They might not believe I’m me. Probably best to come back to Osaka and do it again.

It’s at this point that one of the doors acquires a substantial hole at about chest height. Plywood splinters, it also transpires, are surprisingly sharp.

And off it goes once more...


4 comments:

  1. I wanted to punch my fucking monitor by the 3rd return. Build your own squat rack. I'm building my own cable curl/ tri push down contraption tomorrow.
    It is gonna be ghetto but it will be strong and I don't have to wait for anyone to finish or pay bullshit member fees.

    I still wanna punch my monitor.

    Tape that little Hanko to a brick and hurl it through the fucking...FUCKING gym window.

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    1. I am not, by nature, a violent person. I have my moments but have learned to channel them through training. You'll see why being unable to join a gym was some kind of perfect storm.

      Now we've got a garage a home gym is something I'm giving serious consideration to. A rack and a bench, a bar and some plates and with the saving on gym fees it'd probably pay for itself in a couple of years, even if I had to get most of it new. Where'd you get all the stuff for yours?

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  2. You really got the essence of your frustration through on that one and all you needed to do was cut and paste. I got mad, although I would have punched the door before I started thinking about the family murder threats.

    All that for a few thousand yen a month, yet someone who is white could steal my credit card and use it for hundreds of thousands of yen inpurchases while signing the receipt with something like "penis head", written in perfectly legible English.

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    1. Well, empty threats against anonymous functionaries cost nothing. Those doors are surprisingly expensive.

      I have never once seem a cashier check my signature against the card. It does rather make you question the point of if all

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