Trying to arrange my cat’s transit isn’t easy. Today I called the Japanese Quarantine Service. Not trusting my command of the Japanese language (it’s been two years of no practice!), I decided to just try to make it in English. I’d rather repeat myself using creative analogies than have my cat turned back at the airport!
The woman at the Yokohama head office assured me that I didn’t need the microchip and quarantine system they have for pets brought into Japan. A health certificate would do. She advised me to call the Narita Terminal 2 branch for more details.
So I called up the Narita Terminal 2 branch and explained that I wanted to bring my cat from the Philippines to Toronto through Narita, and that I wanted to know what papers I needed. The man on the other end of the line apologized, saying he spoke little English.
After trying to explain it in different ways, I gave in and said, “Ummm… neko no koto desu.”
“Oh, cat! Nihongo ga wakarimasu ka?”
I explained in the fragments of Japanese that I remembered that no, not really, I’m really bad at Japanese (heta desu), but we could try. In broken Japanese, I explained what I wanted to do. Relieved, he launched into a confident (and fast!) explanation, which I had to interrupt with “Gomen nasai, zenzen wakarimasen deshita! (Sorry, I didn’t understand a word of that!)” He slowed down and made an effort to intersperse English words whenever he could–and that’s how I found out that I just need to check with the airline.
See, if Neko were here, my Japanese would probably be better. I had been studying Japanese when we tore open the bathroom wall to save this tiny ant-covered kitten, so naturally I named the cat “Cat” in Japanese. (My sister calls her Catastrophix, based on the characters in the wonderful series Asterix and Obelix.) I practiced my Japanese on her, and that’s probably why she won’t listen to anyone else in the household. Anyway…
So I need a health certificate no earlier than 10 days of departure and a document from a vet showing rabies vaccination no later than 30 days prior to departure. As I won’t be there a full month, I’ll need to ask my family to take care of getting the rabies vaccination certificate.
I’ve missed my cat so much. I’m looking forward to bringing her over. Don’t know what she’ll do about snow, though. Looks like she’ll be an indoor cat with a heated bed and all! ;)
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