Wednesday, November 01, 2006

A storm of confusion in the Celestial Empire

Although The Land of the Rising Sun has no EFTPOS system and no internet banking (as far as I know) it is still possible to pay one`s rent directly from one`s bank account, and also from an ATM. So Monday and today were spent humbly petitioning my bank, the Shadow of the Mountains Overall Combined Bank, for its Celestial Seal on the contract for an exchange of tithe with my Honourable Landlord.

Unfortunately I was not prepared for the rigours of the preparatory process, which involved filling in a form covered in mysterious options. I finished this on Monday with the help of the omnipresent Ethereal Five Ways Drifting Teller (a woman (in this case) who wanders the halls of the bank offering help to hapless petitioners who do not understand the incredible series of complex rules which obtain in this antechamber to the Celestial Kingdom). Today I returned with a final piece of information and my hanko (stamp), which is a necessary device for sealing all official documents enetered into with the Greater Corporations Which Aspire to Celestial Eminence.

This is the point where the storm of confusion began. My first effort to stamp the hanko with its official red ink on my petition ended in a smudge (common event with these dastardly devices), so I had to do it again. The second time I allowed a tiny part of the stamp to stray from the page, and so the Ethereal Five Ways Drifting Teller had to do it for me. So then I had to take the form to a different teller (the Regnant All Seeing Teller) to process.

So when one processes a form with a Regnant All Seeing Teller, he or she sends one back to the serried rows of chairs in the Appointment Chamber to wait. Here, along with the other pale-faced and exhausted inhabitants of purgatory, one watches the Infernal Colourful Images Flickering Without Purpose Box, from which blares a Great Noise, and passes time until the Invisible and All-Knowing Voice of a Lesser Imp (Disembodied) calls one`s petitioning number, whereupon one humbly approaches one`s assigned Regnant All Seeing Teller, to receive the results of one`s petition.

I had, of course, failed to alert the Shadow of the Mountains Overall Combined Bank of my intentions to relocate from one part of the Shadow of the Mountains Kingdom (Tottori) to a more esteemed part (Matsue) closer to the Golden Glowing Tower of Eminence that is the central office of this Great Organisation in whose shadow I grovel. In fact, I had impudently decided to lodge my petition at an outpost of the Shadow of the Mountains Overall Combined Bank which was only one step removed from that Golden Glowing Tower itself. I was therefore presented with a second petition which I was required to fill in, this petition being one asking permission to have my new residence in Matsue recognised by the Esteemed Greater Illuminated Beings who bask in the golden glow of that great Central Tower. This petition required, of course, that I confirm in writing (eek!) my old address and my new address, and write my name.

Writing my old address is difficult because Tottori is an archaic outpost of the Shadow of the Mountains Kingdom, and the address of its Foreign Quarter most confoundedly hard to write. I had to copy it carefully from my previous address, and then write my new address as well. It is worth noting that the Regnant All Seeing Teller is completely unable to assist me in the task of writing these humble characters, for the mere touch of a Regnant All Seeing Teller on any part of the form will be detected by Higher Beings at the base of the Golden Glowing Tower, and both the Regnant All Seeing Teller and I will be cast forever into the abyss of Punishing Impolite Gestures (a truly terrible place). So this was a slow and embarassing business, with the Regnant All Seeing Teller coolly watching my hapless, fumbling attempts to write the complex kanji of my old address. I made a mistake or two, but this is okay. So far so good.

However, when I first arrived in the Land of the Rising SunI had to write a petition to be recognised as a human being by the Shadow of the Mountains Overall Combined Bank, and to be granted an I Ching Bank Card with which I could communicate with the Esteemed Greater Illumined Beings themselves through one of their ATMS (Agent Talking Machines). This was too difficult for me at the time, so was performed by an Ethiopian Intermediary. This Intermediary wrote my name in a method which I have subsequently discovered is quite unusual for the residents of this Celestial Kingdom, and so I have stopped using it. I have to remember it when I write petitions to the Greater Corporations Which Aspire to Celestial Eminence in the Celestial Kingdom, since it is the same as that on my Hanko (stamp). Today, I forgot to write this name on the petitioning form, and suddenly was told that although mistakes were permitted to be crossed out when writing the addresses on the form, I could be allowed no mistakes in the name section. I then had to commence writing another copy of the petitioning form, in which my name must be correctly written to appease the Esteemed Greater Illumined Beings. On this form I wrote the names in the wrong order, by dint of being a mere mortal (and a stupid one at that). This form, too, had to be thrown out, and a third petition written. This time, thankfully, I was allowed to write the address of my old residence in English - the Regnant All Seeing Teller is not allowed to assist me in writing a language I do not know, but is allowed to stand by and watch while I write the entire address in a language she cannot read. So this time I made only one mistake in the address section and none in the name section, and so was allowed to stamp the petition with my Hanko. At this point the Regnant All Seeing Teller, noticing my prior fumbled attempts, offered to do it for me. Because although she cannot write a single stroke of the kanji for me, she is allowed to sign the document on my behalf.

We do not, of course, question the rules of this Celestial Kingdom. They are wise and just, though occasionally they create some difficulties for lowly foreigners who have not yet learnt to write the word for `International Exchange` in the mysterious local pictographs.

Having submitted this petition, I was allowed also to humbly submit my initial (multiply poorly stamped) petition, and so to humbly request that the Esteemed Greater Illumined Beings allow my money to be offered up - through them - to the Honourable owner of my humble abode. And so in this fashion I am suffered to continue to exist, and so thanking the Regnant All Seeing Teller and apologising humbly for having made an enormous trouble, I made my way forth from the Noble office of the Shadow of the Mountains Overall Combined Bank, and returned to my worthless workaday business.

4 Comments:

Blogger Miss Ember said...

Lorks-a-lordy! Can we get legally married at your bank?

2:21 PM  
Blogger Sir S said...

Only by petitioning the Prominent Great Shining Love Ring Enjoying Spirit. Not an act I recommend for foreigners!

2:25 PM  
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