Jun 16, 2018
I'm a Southeast Asian woman. My passport is not particularly powerful, which means I need a VISA to travel to most countries (yes, including Japan).
Recently I went on a business trip abroad. In the airport on my way back to Japan, I've been stopped twice. The first time was after checking in, while I was making my way through the security check. I'm on a multicultural line but I was the only one whose hands were checked for ions. I've been to a handful of airports in a few different countries, I understand that it may be random, so I didn't pay any attention after passing through. Matter of factly, my own country's airports aren't anything to be particularly boastful about.
The second time was after I already passed through immigration. My passport was freshly stamped and I was headed for the pre-departure area. Just about twenty steps after the immigration window, I was stopped by a soldier who was in mid-conversation with two others. He took a look at my face, stopped talking, left his colleagues and stopped me. He stood in front of me and asked if I had a VISA. I was betting I couldn't hide my irritation either, I'm on my way out of the country for crying out loud! I handed him my passport and after checking my VISA he let me go.
Some 16 hours of flying later, I'm back in Japan. Of the many times I flew in and out, this was the most relieved I've ever felt to back. I always appreciate how Japan can be strict, without the need to embarrass. I seriously just need to express how thankful I am to be back here.
I always hated the vastt difference I could see between Japan and the US in how people get treated by the staff at airports. Not just the rude way I'm treated but also to those who look foreign but clearly are holding us passports.
@edthethe that's tough! This specific airport I went through was in Europe. I wasn't even sure what made me stand out apart from how I looked. So kudos to Japan for how politely we are treated!