Late this afternoon I put my passport in an EMS pouch, and sent it off to some place called “APO AP” with a U.S. zip code. [Update: this turned out to be a mistake!]
I had this on the back of my mind to do. But, the days turn into weeks, and the next thing you know, the passport only has about seven valid ones left. (Seven weeks.)
Then, I read on Marketwatch, that the feds (or Uncle Sammy as I like to call them) is going to raise the renewal fee from $75 to $110 next week. Oh no!
So I hurried up and got the thing done. You can do this by mail if you have a current (<10 year old) passport. You need to fill out form DS-82, which maybe is the easy part. Then, you have to schlep over to one of the big post offices and get a kokusai yubin kawase (international money order).
After that, you need two passport pictures of the size that DS-82 form shows. The 55 Station (DPE and Digital) store will be happy to do this for you for a fee, about 1500 yen. You then send it all over to the APO AP address, as I said. Of course, you will be using the State Department’s instructions and not this blog post.
I am bittersweet about this. The photo that was taken today shows a man 10 years older than the last photo. I remember when I got the 2000 one. I have always been camera shy, and so I didn’t like it. Even though my mother did. (She always does.) I remember saying that sometime in the future, I will look at it and say, “hey, you were a young man back then!” And today, that was the day.
I look at the new picture the same way.
The website says it will take four weeks, but someone on the internet said a renewal could be done in ten days.
It will be good until the summer of 2020. Imagine that, and how far off it sounds. (That’s what 2010 sounded like!)
It’s kind of bittersweet, as it might be the passport I use to leave Japan.