Today I called up the Japanese embassy to check on details for getting a Visa. My stay is less than ninety days so I didn't think it would be a big issue but I decided to confirm it just in case. The experience went something like this:
Automated message: <Japanese>
Automated message: For English, press one.
Me: <press 1>
Automated message: <Long amount of information about visas that I already knew from the website> For further assistance, press zero.
Me: <press zero>
Real Person: Visa Office
Me: Hi, I'm doing an internship and I wanted to see if I needed a visa. They aren't paying me but they are paying for my living expenses and plane ticket.
Real Person: Hold on.
<Elevator music - it was a digital keyboard version of Fur Elise. I couldn't help but laugh since that was the EXACT SAME MUSIC as the garbage trucks in Taiwan>
Real Person: Do you have a certificate of eligibility?
Real Person: What sort of internship is this?
Me: I will be doing aerospace research ...<give more details>
Real Person: Is this for school credit?
Me: No, but I am currently a student.
Real Person: Hold on.
<Fur Elise, the garbage truck edition continues>
Real Person: A visa is not needed.
Me: Great! Are there any specific documents I will need to bring with me to Japan?
Real Person: You will need to get permission once you get there.
Me: Wait, what? I'm sorry but could you repeat yourself?
Real Person: <Explains again>
Me: Let me get this straight; I don't need a visa but I need to get permission?
Real Person: You will need to contact the administration in Japan yourself.
I'm thinking, "I thought a visa was permission to enter Japan."
Suddenly, I'm realizing this might be how most of my internship goes - with me thinking we're on the same page until the last sentence when I'm thrown through a loop and reeling from confusion.
I figured it out now but at the time I was thoroughly confused. It turns out Japan will let me into the country but permission to do the internship itself requires permission from the administration of the district I will be living/working in.
On a slightly different note, Japan won their game against Jordan this morning. Honda got a hat trick. Kagawa, Maeda and Kurihara got one goal each. And Hasebe got an elbow to the face.