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Difficulties and insecurities before this peculiar trip have distressed me these whole 3 months. So many times I even thought about giving up on it, which would lead to throwing a 710$-airplane-ticket out of the window. But none of those things was as thrilling and head-aching as this story I’m about to tell you now. It’s about my Russian visa.

Being a foreigner living in Japan, my visa application procedure would be different from a Japanese’s, thus no travel agency wanted to offer the service. I would just apply the visa by myself without a second thought if I didn’t need an invitation letter from Russia. Apparently Russian visa application required more papers and was stricter than many other European and Asian visas, plus, we foreigners needed the original copy of the invitation, while Japanese only needed a scan data sent from Russia, and no matter how many times I tried to call Russian embassy, no one answered. Right at that time, a friend in Vietnam told me it’s much easier to apply for Russian visa in Vietnam, and I was about to go back to Vietnam, so I asked him to help me obtain the invitation and after I brought my passport back home, he would help me obtain the visa as well.

He was kind enough to come to my house right after I arrived to collect my passport, but not long after that, I realized I needed the passport to flight to Da Nang, as my Vietnamese ID had already been expired. The next morning, he visited again to return my passport. That meant I would not have enough time after the Da Nang trip to apply for visa in Vietnam, so the only choice was to bring it back to Japan and apply in Japan.

Thing was, he already applied for the invitation letter but the information in the letter was different from my actual schedule so I could not use it in Japan (but the chance for it to get accepted in Vietnam was much higher). I had thought about many ways to deal with this unexpected problem, and finally I chose to send my passport back home through a friend who was accidentally about to travel back to Vietnam from Japan. The passport came to his hands and he brought it, together with other documents, to the embassy. The procedure took 2 weeks, unexpectly long. After finally obtaining it successfully, he told me that actually the invitation letter got rejected so he had to order a new one, that’s why it took so long.

Then, the last question was how to send it back to Japan safely. I was thinking about FedEx, but that’s too expensive. And again, Fortuna was at my side. Another friend from the same dancing team would go back to Japan 2 days before my departure and she agreed to bring my passport back. However, she was living very very far away from Tokyo, so I prepared a sending form with my company’s address on it so she could send it right after coming back to Japan. Yesterday morning, she sent it to me, and today’s afternoon it arrived my company eventually.

1 day before departure, for the very first time I believe that my trip is really coming true.

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