Thursday, December 09, 2004

Swords: More Trouble than they're Worth?

In Japan, owning a sword is much like owning, say, an assault rifle in some other part of the world. Because of some historical precedent, you have the right to own one, but the police would be much happier if they could all be melted down. And as it is, you have to register with them that you have one, and you have to take lots of pictures of it for when it (inevitably!) is going to be used to murder somebody. Sigh.

I just want to mail it home to Canada, but the process seems incredibly complicated. I don't really know, because my supervisor here at work has very kindly agreed to handle the paperwork (after I begged her, "Please, you've GOT to do this paperwork for me! I can't understand any of it!"). But I do know that every 20 minutes or so, she e-mails me with a terse message like, "I need the full address and name of the person you bought this from" or "Please take detailed pictures of all parts of the sword including the signature and send them express post to me at the following address" or "I need a piece of paper with your fingerprints in black ink" or "Please send me a cup with a blood sample". It's all pretty silly, especially considering that I'm trying to take this sword OUT of the country, not the other way around. Now I'm really wondering what will happen if/when I try to bring it back IN. At customs: "No problem sir. We'll just take your sword into protective custody for some time while the paperwork clears. You should be able to claim it in ... let's see... early 2008." Argh.

Anyway, 7 days left here, then it's back to Canada (unless I am suddenly offered a job in the next couple days). I applied for a job in Shikoku; that would be a nice place to live. The iaido there is basically all Jikiden, and Namitome Sensei tells me that there are many very good jodo teachers there...

In any case, I've got to cut this short. Time to work (for a change)! Over and out.


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