Saturday, March 01, 2014

How to Apply for Japanese Visa

I can't help but smile when I remember that I now have a Japanese tourist visa :) The dream of walking in Shibuya crossing, eating authentic ramen & sushi, seeing the Tokyo Tower and the panda in Euno Zoo going to Japanese drama locations is now closer to reality. :) 

I originally had a February flight to Osaka, which I bought for PHP6K. While researching for my itinerary, I realized that it will cost at least PHP12K to go from Osaka -> Tokyo ->Osaka. Back in November, Cebu Pacific launched their Manila-Tokyo direct flights and it was just a leap of faith when I bought my PHP10K round-trip airfare tickets. To make the long story short, I saved PHP2K and the hassle of round-trip long train rides to go to the capital city.   

It took me at least 2 weeks to prepare and complete the requirements. The Japanese Embassy in the Philippines has a list of accredited agencies which handle the visa applications so I didn't have a direct contact or even an interview with them.
Anxious moment :)

A friend recommended Reli Tours and Travel Agency, good thing that they have a branch in SM Megamall. It was a Saturday afternoon after yoga class when I went to their office and there's a short line when I arrived. When it was my turn, the lady in charge double checked my requirements before I was ushered to the cashier where I paid PHP1,200 for the processing fee. It took me at least an hour to complete the whole process.

Requirements for Tourist Visa (without invitation)
1) Philippine passport - valid at least 6 months
2) Visa Application Form - download here
3) Japan Visa photo - 2x2, white background
4) NSO Birth Certificate - issued within 1 year
5) Taizai Nitteihyo - Daily Schedule of Stay (English)
6) Bank Certificate - issued within 3 months

Since it's a solo backpacker trip, I also included optional documents like Certificate of Employment and my condo's Contract To Sell to prove that I will surely return to Manila :)

Four days after, I received a text message from Reli Tours that my passport is ready for pick up!
No consideration for low EQ clients haha
So the next day, I rushed to Megamall to claim my passport WITH JAPANESE VISA! I was actually confident that I'll be granted a tourist visa because I completed all requirements but there's a 1% worry that they might doubt me because I'm a solo backpacker! So, yay! Detailed itinerary planning, begins :)


Yay for Yoga Club

I'm happy to be a part of a company that offers opportunities to pursue other interests by offering various clubs. I've been part of social volunteer program and recently I've discovered that we have a Yoga community!!! I deserve a pat on my back for taking time to go through the company newsletters that we receive we receive a lot hahaha! I enjoyed the Yogilates classes when I still had my Gold's Gym membership, its a mix of yoga and Pilates exercises. I've tried "hardcore" practice from Bliss Yoga studio thanks to voucher promos. I know that yoga classes can be very expensive, so having access to free yoga sessions is amazing!

Yoga is for every body :)

Last Saturday, we attended a 2 1/2 hour session with our club's corporate partner. The 1st hour was a stress management seminar where they discussed how to improve physical and mental health. They knew how tough it is to be in the corporate jungle but we should make time to relax, exercise and choose to eat healthy. I'm not ready to give up eating rice, though :)) 

Then, we had the actual Hot Flow Yoga class. It can be "traumatic" for beginners because it tests flexibility and endurance by doing various poses on a heated room. Yes, think balancing and twisting inside a sauna room. After 30 minutes, I was drenched in my own sweat and I'm happy to see those toxins released from my body.  Fortunately, I already tried Hot Flow before so I was sort of prepared except my wobbly right leg. Our instructor knew that majority are first timers that's why she told us that she will allow us to take a break on our mat if we feel dizzy BUT she challenged us to at least stay in the room during the 1 1/2 hr session. 

I'm psyched about the next session, its a Power Flow Vinsaya class! This type focuses on flowing from one pose to another and gives emphasis in breathing. It's scheduled after office hours and the venue is just 10 minutes walk from the office, yay AND ITS FREE!