April 15th, 2015

Applying for a US Passport

Setting: present day Virginia

I am looking into applying for a US passport (obviously not for myself, but for a character). I found this which is super useful. My character has never had a passport before and needs a photo ID to get one but my character also has none of the things listed as valid photo ID. The above website goes on to say:

If you do not have any of the above documents, you will need to submit a combination of secondary identification documents with a photo and signature, such as:

Expired Driver's License
State-issued ID Card
Student ID Card
Employment ID Card


What does "a combination of secondary identification documents with a photo and signature" mean? Does that mean that you need to send off two or more of those documents? My character is a student so would have a student ID. I don't know if you also have to send the originals off in this case (I could find anywhere that said either way) but if you do, what do you do in the meantime? What is an employment ID card outside of the obvious? Would all employers have one, or is it for bigger companies/institutions? Would, say, a little bookshop or auto repair shop have one? And what is a state-issued ID card and does everyone get one/do you have to pay for them/what is their purpose?

Within the Passport application itself it also says this:

IF YOU CANNOT PROVIDE DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCE OF IDENTITY as stated above, you must appear with an IDENTIFYING WITNESS who is a U.S. citizen, non-citizen U.S. national, or permanent resident alien who has known you for at least two years. Your witness must prove his or her identity and complete and sign an Affidavit of Identifying Witness (Form DS-71) before the acceptance agent. You must also submit some identification of your own.


I'm assuming that "identification of your own" is what is listen above. However, the identifying witness, can they be younger than you though still over the age of 18? Essentially, can my character have his best friend vouch for him? She would have a passport and a drivers licence and be able to provide all documentation required. I'm assuming the answer is yes, but I just want to make sure. Also, where would this be done? Is this something that can be authorised in a college town, or does it have to be a state capital or other municipal town/city?

Also, proof of US Citizenship is requires and without a valid passport, this means a birth certificate. My character is in college outside of the state he was born in (Virginia), and was in the foster system/a group home within the state he was born in prior to that (Iowa). How likely is it that my character would already have a copy of his birth certificate and if it's likely he doesn't, how easy would it be to get a copy?

"Whetter" or "Cutler"?

Hi guys, I'm wondering if you can help me.

I recently read a Japanese short story. The protagonist's profession is a "cutler" (刃物屋 / hamono-ya). He sells a bunch of cutlery, sharpens them, washes knives, etc. There's a translation up, and the translator translated his profession as "whetter".

In the end the translator asked if it was accurate to use "whetter" instead of "cutter" (he's not a native English speaker) I decided to do some googling, and it's really not helping. Technically both "cutler" and "whetter", "should" be the same thing but I'm not exactly sure.

To put it simply: Is someone whose profession is to sell, wash, and sharpen cutlery a "cutler", or a "whetter"?

Thanks. :)

Edit: Thank for all the help. I asked another translator and he explained that basically "cutler" translates to 刃物師, and whetter means someone who whets in particular; 研師.
If this person is specialized in whetting, he should be called 研師. But if he does all the process of making 刃物, then he's a cutler.

I've never seen these words used before, so I guess that's what really hit me.