24 February 2008

Red Tape and Redpolls

One of many Redpolls around this afternoon. A rather chilly day too. I met Dan and we walked down the river to the beach in the raw wintry weather. Quite a bit of stuff around. 5 species of Duck including a drake Wigeon, 1 Asian Rosy Finch, several Hawfinch and the Thayers Gull which is presumably moulting into summer plumage as it's looking somewhat bedraggled.

I had a bad experience with Japanese bureacracy last week. I have a permant residency visa stamped in my passport but I still need a re-entry permit. I need one as my old one expired last year sometime. I have to provide a copy to my travel agent as the Japanese government likes to keep track of all foreign comings and goings to, like, you know 'prevent terroism' or something. I'll be fingerprinted next time I re-enter Japan too. Memo to foreign terroists: jump through all this stupid hoops and you can attack the Tokyo subway with biological or chemical weapons just like Japanese nationals have done before in what is the only terroist act to occur on Japanese soil in modern times.

So anyway off I went to the Immigration Office on Thursday. When I got there it was closed. All day, because all the staff had to go to Hakodate airport to meet one international flight. Unbelievable I thought. Wouldn't it be logical to leave one staff member in the office? Apparently not. I came back on Friday morning and the office was closed again so I went out to the airport. Of course there was zero activity in the international terminal (just one flight landing several hours later). I got to speak to one of the Immigration 'Officers' who said he couldn't do the paperwork for my re-entry permit at the airport (I had all the documents/revenue stamps etc).

This is when it got really stupid. I asked him if his office would be oipen on Monday. He said that he didn't know. HE DIDN'T KNOW! What was he expecting to happen? An international flight unexpectedly landing at the airport so him and his useless colleagues had better hang around just in case? I bit my tongue and asked for his office number so at least I could call to check if anyone was there. The idiot didn't even know his office number. He disappeared and several minutes later re-emerged to give me the number handwritten on a Hello Kitty memo pad. Morons.

I did see a Black Crowned Night Heron on the way back from one of my wasted vists to Immigration. Of course it was hiding behind a branch (I saw it beiing mercilessly harassed by the local Crows).

And here's a soaked Blue Rock Thrush taken a couple of days ago.

The Redpolls were very photogenic today particularly this individual.

I also saw the Crossbills again but it was impossible to get a good shot. This is the best, ironically it kind of looks like a pine cone.

The Long Tailed Tits were still around, these shots (like the Night Heron above) were taken with the 70-300 lens.

And here's a random Hakodate image from my recent wanderings around town.

I watched the first episode of 'Ashes to Ashes' last night. A carbon copy of 'Life on Mars' only not as good..............hmmm. I'll still probably watch the rest of the series though. What about poor old Newcastle? I think Keegan may well resign before the end of the season. Managers should never go back. Never. Look at Howard Kendall and Graham Taylor in their second spells at Everton and Villa. As useless as Hakodate Immigration Officers.

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