Emergency passport

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  • After discovering that my passport had decided to take leave of my company and go travelling without me, my onward plans were in tatters. The Japanese are famously honorable people, and I had been advised to do nothing hasty as the chances of my passport being recovered were good. However, as the days passed, hopes of seeing my heavily stamped passport faded and I was left with just one disappointing option of returning to the UK to get a new passport.

    So today, I went to the British Embassy in Tokyo and collected an Emergency Passport that is valid only for my non-stop flight back to the UK. I’d pretty much accepted the disappointment of losing my passport and the fact that my onward travel plans had been thrown into such disarray, but it was hard to hold the emergency passport and feel good about tomorrows flight.

    I’m usually a lucky guy, and while failing to recover my lost passport isn’t a tale of good fortune, I cannot write about this drama without mentioning the stroke of luck I did have. I’m a couchsurfer, which means that from time to time I meet up with, and stay in the homes of, people I don’t know. That might sound like madness, but there’s a growing community of people who are open to meeting strangers, knowing that most of us really aren’t that strange at all. In Tokyo I was staying in the home of Sephrine, and I couldn’t have been luckier to meet such a kind and generous person at my moment of drama.

    Losing your passport is stressful, losing it overseas is more so, but losing it in a country like Japan, where you cannot understand or make sense of the language, well, that’s a big drama. I’m quite sure I could have muddled my way through the drama myself, but I didn’t have to thanks to Sephrine. Her generosity, kindness, and support was an absolute blessing. As well as spending a great deal of time on the telephone contacting the various authorities, Sephrine took time off work to accompany me to the police station to report the loss. I can’t say I was altogether upbeat, but she was caring and supportive as if we were friends of old. She went out of her way to try and ensure that I had a good time in Japan, and even arranged for me to visit her brother and his wife in Kyoto. I owe her a huge debt of gratitude and honestly feel deeply fortunate to have met someone so helpful, and accommodating.

    If you’re curious where I am, you can find me on a map. Simply click the ‘About Simon Jones’ link at the top of the website then click the ‘Find me on a map‘ link.

  • 6 comments on “Emergency passport

    1. I would be devastated were I to lose my passport (which I thought I did, once, and had to get an emergency one… only to find the missing one in a laptop bag a year later). I feel your pain.

      And you’re right — CouchSurfing is amazing.

      • Oh believe me Theresa, I wasn’t at all happy about it, not so much for the loss but for the fact that the loss threw all my onward plans into such disarray. I am super bummed I no longer have all those stamps either. BUMMED!

    2. Dear Simon,
      As I totally understand how frustrated you are being in a city which you know no one (except me), not a word (except arigato gozaimasu) , bearing the lost of the passport you are proud, have cancel all our subsequent plans and was forced to go back to England!!! What I did was just what I can do for a friend in need. I felt honour to play an memorable or ‘important’ role in your wonderful journey especially after I knew your fans of 366 pictures will be sad if you stop writing. I like you not only you are kindhearted, respectful, excellent story teller but always remember and talks about the nice thing about everyone you met along the way. Now I think I know why you never feel lonely even after two years of constant traveling. Your heart is full of gratitude and love towards everyone you met while your mind is always busy dealing with your desire to learn and to do.
      Keep up the good job while I keep doing my 366 strangers(=^ェ^=)

    3. keep talking to strangers…. meet friends! well, it is really good to know that everywhere you go and you need help, somebody will just come. still there are good souls like Sephrine! how i wish to meet more friends like you and Simon. both of you are wonderful.

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