Tag Archives: government

US Embassy Tokyo: These Colors Don’t Answer

Finding that my social security card has gone missing, likely thrown out due to hanging out amongst some trash-worthy papers against its better judgement, I looked up the US government here in Japan. Their site is quite helpful and offers a number to call to arrange an appointment for this. I make the call and explain the situation. I’m promptly transferred to the typical machine listing announcements, which eventually tells me to ‘press 2’ for ‘federal benefits and social security’ issues. I press ‘2.’ Within seconds a friendly recorded voice comes on. I expect to hear how much my call is valued and such, so I don’t particularly listen to what is said. There is a dial tone. I must have done something wrong. I call back. I press ‘2,’ listening carefully this time around. All along, the friendly voice had been trying to wish me ‘goodbye!’ click.

I continue trying through the day with the same result. I find this fiendishly clever on behalf of the American government. They can surely reduce the deficit if they can just ensure that any inquiry with the secret phrase ‘federal benefits’ triggers an immediate hang-up of the phone line. Perhaps they have not gone far enough? Google could likely be persuaded to present a 404 error if the same phrase were to be used on the net.

Okay, this was probably just a bad day for them at the embassy. I’ll keep calling during their working hours. It will just take some careful planning to catch them. You see, they work a few hours in the morning, and a couple hours in the afternoon. Those are the normal hours. The exceptions to those hours are the usual: all Japanese holidays (this is Japan), all American holidays (this, umm), and, of course, … Wednesdays.

UPDATE: Got through. Appointment set.

Revisionist History

Along the lines of he who controls the present controls the past and he who controls the past controls the future … It ooks like the Japanese Government is up to its old tricks again, rewriting history textbooks for its public school students. This time, references to the order by the Imperial Army for civilians to commit mass suicide in the Battle of Okinawa were deleted, even though these references had been made in previous editions of the textbooks.

Lee Hsien Loon

Mr Koe said there would be strong negative repercussions for Singapore. “One very tangible consequence was Warwick University in the UK [which] was recently granted a licence to set up a campus in Singapore but the faculty and students voted not to,” Mr Koe said. “One of the reasons cited was Singapore’s stance against the gay community. They felt there was no freedom of speech.
“The Prime Minister said it was not homophobia, but they had to be sensitive to people who find gay people offensive.”

Thailand 1 Singapore 0