In December I am accompanying singer Pinky Winters to Japan for a series of performances in Tokyo. I was going to phone her a little while ago and make arrangements to take her to the Los Angeles Japanese Consulate for a work visa, but first I thought I would ring up the Consulate and find out particulars. Getting Pinky there and back home would take the better part of the day.
In the process of talking to the very nice gentleman (with a slight Japanese accent) at the Consulate, for no particular reason he asked, "What does the person do?" I said, "She is a singer." To which he replied, "Oh, we make exceptions in the case of entertainers. She does not have to come with you."
To say that I was astounded at the thoughtfulness of both his asking his question in the first place, and then their exception to entertainers simply amazes me. There are probably ten people in the United States who would be thoughtful enough to ask me the question, "What does the person do?" I don't think it is an accident that one of them turned out to be Japanese. I don't mind so much for myself, but Pinky really does have better and more important things to do, i.e. sorting music, rehearsing, etc. And the kind of red tape involved in getting a work visa for a foreign country is just the sort of thing that can make performers want to give up show biz forever.
Anyway, very simple. It only takes three or four days to receive work visa. This will all be done by the end of next week. Hooray!
I just might be living in the wrong country.