June 25, 2008

Rising Daughter’s SIN

Hey, my little girl’s not even thinking about sin or religious beliefs! I’m talking about her Social Insurance Number, which is the last bit of identification we need to get her Canuck profile up and running with The Powers That Be.

We needed a SIN number to start our little one’s education fund in Canada, you see.

Government proposes, bureaucracy disposes. And the bureaucracy must dispose of government proposals by dumping them on us.

-P. J. O'Rourke

Bringing a new life into society entails paperwork with the authorities no matter where you live. However, Naomi and I, being the social misfits that we are, managed to literally breed a few bureaucratic gaps that needed a lot of paper to bridge. For example, Naomi had decided to keep her maiden name -- which I am all for – and it’s something she will share with Elena here in Japan. Owing to a variety of local customs and laws, and because I am not Japanese, Elena cannot use my family name here. Fair enough. Canada, ever flexible and accommodating, allows us a choice. It’s a paradox for one little person to have two official identities, but that’s the reality. The upside is that it will offer more choices for her later in life. Regardless, with a little patience, much paperwork and translation, and forking out a fair amount of coin over the past year or so, we’ve managed to receive passports, health care coverage, birth certificates and official Hoser and Nippon government IDs (see the I….AM….CANADIAN….TOO post from April).

The last stage was applying for her SIN card. For those of you unfamiliar with the grand Canadian institution called “the Social Insurance Number (SIN), [it] is a nine-digit number used in the administration of various Canadian government programs. You will require a SIN to work in Canada or to receive government benefits.” (Yep, quoted from the Service Canada website.)
There you have it. And we needed it. So I applied for it. And they lost it…in the mail.

To be fair, the long and short of it is that although the new SIN number (and some important other IDs we included to prove the validity of the application) seemed lost, the very efficient people at Service Canada found the errant letter, and sent it back to us here in Hiroshima. That saved me many re-application forms and midnight calls to New Brunswick. Kudos to the Service Canada staff.

End result? We have a winner! Rising Daughter has a SIN number. And after a year of paperwork, we are taking a rest.

June 16, 2008

Politics and BBQs

Elena Supports Hillary to the End
Last week, our little politico and I watched Hillary Clinton’s “support Barack Obama” concession speech in Washington. Now, Elena and I have been arguing endlessly during the primaries about Ms. Clinton’s various campaign twists, especially the halting use of social media to spread her messages. Elena claims that Hillary-chan’s emphasis on “yes, we can!” mainstream messaging was the right call, and she thinks her handlers ruined the Clinton campaign by going negative too early. I keep telling her that no matter what happens, Clinton had the “toughness and experience factors” and non-elitist image that would really be important come November, but that gas prices and other economic realities will trump those any day for the average voter. She agreed that Mr. Obama was the first presumptive presidential candidate that really leveraged the possibilities of the new communication technologies. Man, that kid is brilliant!
Think FDR’s fireside chats, think Kennedy’s use of television, and then think about what we’ve witnessed over the past year and a half.

The Rising Daughter calls me a fossil. But as you can see, she was sad to watch Hillary hightail it. As was I, and it was a great speech. Look at those wistful eyes...!

That H.C. could make such progress for women in America…what kind of inroads will the Rising Daughter witness in her lifetime? Makes ya think, don’t it?

Rick and Naomi’s BBQ
In contrast to the previous post, the most recent picnic we attended was a BBQ hosted by our friends Rick and Naomi and their family. A sizable group of friends showed up for the fun. By the by, I was originally introduced to my future wife, ‘”my” Naomi, at one of Rick’s birthday parties more than a few years ago.

We hadn’t seen R&N in quite some time, so catching up was fun. Our friend Sachie was also there with her daughter, too. I snapped a few photos of the ladies, including this one.
The baby harness intrigued Naomi in that she could keep our two-legged tornado under control. This infringement on Lady E’s innate right to ramble around naturally brought on screeching wails of protest, and the experiment was soon abandoned. Perhaps we can use a modified version next year to put Elena to work plowing the fields before planting the rice seeds?