There is quite a lot of bureaucracy to become an official Ginowan resident and persuant to the new official address I have to change my pension, health insurance and driving license details.
Off I go to the Ginowan City Hall. It is 33 degrees at 9:00 in the morning. AC is such a blessing, I can not imagine living here before AC. Office waiting rooms must have been hell. They must have had fans but there is only so much a fan can do.
I am gently directed to the right counter to get a residence certificate. A sweet lady who has some English helps me fill out the form. We giggle.
I wait in suitably distanced chair. Everyone is, of course, wearing masks. My number is 505, the numbers on the screen are in the 80’s. I settle in for a long wait. Not so, the nice lady reappears and leads me to another window where an equally nice young lady, who speaks good English, greets me. She explains what I have to do. They have to print my new address on my resident card, which will take an hour or so. In the meantime I have to go to the pension and health insurance windows. We giggle. Indeed so much that I snap one of the ear straps on my mask! They immediately bring me a new one. Much giggling.
First stop is the Pension desk, no wait, I explain the change of address by mime. The nice young man gets it and comes back a couple of minutes later and explains everything is daijuobu.
I change building and arrive at the health insurance windows. After a short wait I am summoned. I am #22. Nobody speaks English and we communicate through voice translation apps on our phones. These are now super good. We giggle a lot. They apologetically tell me that I will have to pay 3,000 yen next April. They give a new health insurance card. I now have the best health care for 3000 yen next April! I giggle.
Back to the original registration window. My card is ready. I have to put 400 yen in a slot machine that spits out a receipt. I have a Ginowan residence certificate, a re-addressed resident card and a new mask.
Next stop is the Ginowan Police Station to change the address on my driving license. No English speakers but it does not matter as they understand why I am there and a nice lady policeman fills in the form for me. We giggle like crazy.
Ten minutes later she comes back with my updated license. I am official.
All of this was done in a morning. What is more, it was fun. The Okinawans have a talent for turning drudgery into a party. We can all learn from them.