The paperwork was non-trivial. I pawned this off on Jeff. I figured if I could go through pregnancy and birth in a foreign country, he could deal with the paperwork. Fortunately, his office helped him get the paperwork started. First, the birth had to be reported at the city office in Higashihiroshima. This took Jeff 2 days, 4 trips back home for more paperwork and about 5 hours. From this we got a birth certificate and Wren's residence card. Once he had these pieces, he contacted the Embassy and set up an appointment.
We had about a dozen pages of paperwork that needed photocopied in triplicate. Jeff filled them all out so I know very little about what it asked other than every place I had ever lived and what dates. This he asked me. The part that I had to do was get a passport photo for Wren. I downloaded an App to get the sizing correct and her head and eyes where they needed to be in the photo. It took 3 tires to get an App that would work. One wanted to send me a photo to a US address. The second kept having "under construction errors" and the third finally would work. She had to have a white background so I put her on a white blanket. There couldn't be shadows on her face, her eyes had to be open and she had to be facing straight ahead directly in to the camera that was directly in front of her face. This was not an easy thing to do with a baby less than a month old. Her head always wants to roll to the side and if her eyes are open, she's wiggling. After many many attempts I got a photo that I thought would work.
|The photos we used for Wren's passport. The App puts them in this format so they can be printed in 4x6 size and have 2" photos|
We decided to drive even though it would take longer because all appointments were in the morning. This meant that we would do an over night trip. That long with a tiny baby means gear. The additionaly baby stuff made driving the easier option.
The drive went ok with only one stop for a changing and feeding. Japanese rest stops are amazing. they are every 20k, most have food (all have vending machines) and the bathrooms are spotlessly clean. They even have fresh flowers in them. We got to the hotel really late and Jeff went on a quest for food. He found a "Happy Australian" restaurant which was actually an Outback Steakhouse and we had bacon cheese burgers with fries. They were AMAZING! I miss western style hamburgers and this was the first chain restaurant we have been to in Japan (with the exception of getting a couple of milk shakes and fires at McDonalds).
|Jeff and Wren in our hotel with Osaka out the window|
We got up the next morning and headed off to the Embassy. There was a line out front and security guards. We left our cell phones at the hotel since the website said we could not take them in. It didn't say that the stroller had to stay outside but apparently it did. There were two other strollers out there with ours. We got through security and then went up to the correct floor of the building. There were three windows that reminded me of movie theater windows. We gave them our documents and waited around. They checked our information and made a couple minor corrections. At one point I had to hold Wren up so the guy on the other side of the window could see her and we had to raise our right hands and swear that everything was correct to the best of our knowledge and Wren was the baby we claimed she was. That was it. Very anti-climatic. Presenting your baby at the Embassy sounds much more interesting than it was. The whole thing took an hour. Wren was great the whole time and only started loosing it on the way out in the elevator. We rolled the stroller back to the hotel (she is happy when we are moving) and made it back to the hotel where we changed and fed her. We had late checkout so we took a quick nap before leaving the hotel.
We hopped over to a subway station and headed over to Osaka-Jo or Osaka Castle. It is huge. The moat and surrounding grounds are very impressive. We decided not to go inside because it would be difficult with the stroller and we were short on time. We wandered around for a bit, ate a couple of pork filled buns (which are delicious!) and then Wren decided it was time for another feeding/change. We took care of her and by then it was time to head back to the car and back towards home. The drive back was rather uneventful and the leftover spagetti I had waiting in the fridge when we got home was great since it was pretty late.
|Jeff with Wren on her first subway ride|
|This is a building on the castle grounds with the city in the background. I love this photo of old and new.|
|Jeff and Wren in front of the castle|
|The castle where you can see it a little better|
|Me being silly|
|The castle from the far side of the moat|
It was a really good first trip with a baby and has given us more confidence to go other places and do things.