The Saga- QTips up the Nose

So, I’m part of a group on Facebook that offers support and updates about the changing regulations for entering Japan as a foreigner.

You’d think it would be pretty straightforward.

But at the best of times, my dearest Japan prefers… more…. complicated approaches. And so this group is very necessary to even understand the rules and ins and outs.

Here is the paperwork I needed to acquire to be allowed back to Japan:

  • A negative nasopharyngeal (the “brain tickler”) PCR test– and not one of the quick results ones– a lab version, completed within 72 hours of my final flight’s departure. The specific term “nasopharyngeal” is the clincher here– that word needed to be on the results.
  • What’s called the MOFA form- a form with my personal information, what type of test I’d been given, what time, and signed and stamped by a doctor. This is the most important paper.
  • A personal pledge for both myself and my daughter saying that we would abide by the rules outlined
  • Several apps downloaded and QR codes for questionnaires

Before I had flown in, my brothers had called around several places to confirm if they had the test type I needed. Supposedly one location performed my test type and they would be able to do the MOFA form. And best yet, it should be free.

I called as well and scheduled ahead of time and drove down on the Monday (flight was to be Thursday) to do our tests.

But as I was there, I began to feel uncomfortable with the process. Though the test was to be nasopharyngeal, they told me they wouldn’t actually be doing that method. Still, “it would be written on the test results”, which smacked of dishonesty to me. They took my paperwork to fill out and when I got it back, there was white-out on it, darker ink marks where they “fixed” things, and a signature from the nurse practitioner, since no doctor was on staff.

We did the test and was told we’d get the results notification…. but I wasn’t feeling it.

Japan is a stickler for carefulness and correctness. White out- not good. Nurse practitioner- not good. I had called these people to confirm everything to avoid this kind of situation, and their phone story and actual story were two different things. And I wasn’t about to travel some 20 hours with my baby for Japanese officials to send us back to America to do the test again and then fly again, everything at my own expense.

When I reviewed that Facebook group, I discovered that others had had issues with this chain. Though a family member encouraged me to just trust that God would take care of it all and not to worry about these things, I felt like that was setting myself up for more issues.

I’d had enough issues. I needed a solution.

So. I spent Monday evening that day searching for another lab where I could get a test done. With time ticking, and most places offering their lab results in 72 hours (“usually”), pickings were slim.

I found one though, called in the morning and drove my daughter and I across town (again) for another test before the wake. More qtips up our noses.

Though they didn’t fill out the paperwork, my plan was to have my dad’s original doctor fill out the paperwork.

That afternoon at the wake while I visited with friends, we received our results from the 2nd lab that our tests were negative and we would be able to return to Japan.

First thing Wednesday morning, before the funeral, I stopped by my dad’s doctor’s office and he filled out the forms while I held a fussing baby, trying to chitchat in a busy office setting.

You know, we never did get our results from the first lab.

God was so good to help me through the process– despite the challenges and extra driving around the funeral schedule, this second option was what ended up working.

On Wednesday night, as I reviewed all our paperwork (and made sure our documents were where they needed to be), I looked at the MOFA form from my dad’s doctor, with a smile at how things had worked out.

But my smile froze.

The form did not match our results.

The doctor had checked the wrong test type.

It was 9pm and we were scheduled to leave the house just before 5am the next day for the airport….


2 thoughts on “The Saga- QTips up the Nose

  1. Oh my!!! We didn’t have to have the same terms (naso-whatever) for flying to England (from a visit in the US during lockdown in the UK), they were very strict and the (now 3) different travels we’ve done during the age-of-covid, have really been stressful! Things have loosened up a lot there, but there were times where it was touch and go. There was a time when a delayed flight rendered our results irrelevant because of the amount of time it had been since the tests were taken, which had us scrambling and paying so much at the airport for tests. Agh! And for YOU, all when grieving and processing your dad passing, and with a baby no less… oh Janine! ❤️


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