this is the story of how lily tried to file her taxes last monday.

i wake up with the resolution that today i will finally stop procrastinating.
i will get my papers in order and i will go to the dreaded Tax Office. yes.
i look out the window. it is dark. it is raining. it is bloody freezing.
my resolve wavers, but no, i am determined to get this over with.
so. first i have to find the place. according to the envelope they sent, the address i have to go to is in K__.
K__ is not on my handy train map. i call the office and they kindly tell me the nearest station: Something-or-other-in-front-of-the-shrine Station. right.
check my train-connection search on my cellphone. requires 3 trains to get to this place, but i am up for a little adventure.
first leg, Jiyugaoka to Futakotamagawa, no problem. then Ftktmgwa to Sangenjaya, no sweat.
once in Sngjya sta. however, i must travel an underground maze to reach the secondary station, where awaits the Den-en-toshi line, which is more bus than train. the dinky little transport is so local we seem to be going through people's backyards.
this is cute, i am exploring a new neighborhood, this isn't so bad afterall.
get off at Somethingsomething-shrine sta. look around. no tax office in sight. no convenience stores, no police boxes, no friendly people to ask directions of.
wander around in the freezing rain. finally find a small shop selling rice dumplings with a kindly proprieter who tells me to walk back the way i came.
find the office, finally. but no, the clerk tells me i want a different office entirely. more directions. more walking in the cold.
office number two. dark and gloomy as only goverment offices can be. sit down with the clerk. show him my papers. everything is in order. lovely.
so, how much of a tax return do you think i'll get?
i'm sorry, this isn't the procedure for tax returns; you probably won't get any money back. we might even take more.
i beg your pardon?
if you want a tax return you should go to the office you went to the first time, and fill out more paperwork there. which will render what we did here completely unnecessary.
ah, i see. i'll be on my way then.
back to office number one. am handed an armful of documents, none of which i can read.
am ushered to the table of an efficient woman who sweeps the papers out of my hands and commences rapidly tapping numbers into her oversized calculator.
sign here, stamp here, date here, smear of your blood here, go wait in line over there.
waiting waiting waiting. am then whisked into the booth of a man with a large machine into which he feeds all of my papers. it then ejects new papers which i am given. more signing and stamping and then waiting in yet another line.
the end is in sight. if i can get past this last person i am home free.
she glances at my documents, smiles, makes to put them on the pile, hesitates, frowns, and hands them back to me.
you're at the wrong office. the office for your address is in Futakotamagawa (which, if you'll look above, is the very first train stop i went to this morning).
you should go there and wait in some more lines.
just as i am looking around for some implement on which i can impale myself, she hands me an envelope.
or, you could just mail them in this.
thanks. i'll do that.


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