Saturday, June 13, 2009

Deal with the Devil

Posted by kuri, ping, the pinglet, & mini-ping on 6/13/2009
I've started something I always swore I would never do.

I'm going to driving school in Japan. One of the biggest wastes of money on planet earth, yet here I am sitting in an ancient classroom with a bunch of college students who can barely answer the instructors when they ask them a question. I've gone three times so far and were it not for having to take the exam in Japanese for my permit, I would have graduated by now.* Considering that my driving instructor and I talk about international travel, movies, and who the hottest actor is WHILE I'M DRIVING, I don't think that I'll have any trouble on the practical driving exam. I'll pass eventually since paying JPN 350,000 (about USD 3,500) pretty much guarantees that I will hold an official laminated permit to drive on the wrong side of the road, but holy God, I haven't had to study for an exam in about 15 years so this should be an interesting experiment.

Why, after 15 years in Japan, are you getting your license? is probably a question on your mind (after putting your eyes back in your head after seeing the price). That reason, of course, would be your friendly neighborhood Pinglet, who has decided to sabatoge my eco-friendly form of transportation, otherwise known as public transport. My little lover of buses and trains has turned into an unpredictable wild child, one that can turn at the slightest change in the air into a screaming, whirling dervish, shattering the eardrums of all within earshot with her piercing screams. People always say that a child's screams/cries are loudest to their mothers, but I have independent corroboration that the Pinglet does indeed have a set of lungs on her. So I am left with no recourse but to sell my soul to the devil, otherwise known as the Japanese driving school.

I actually love driving so getting my license is long overdue. It will be interesting trying to drive when I don't actually know the rules of the road with a toddler throwing tantrums in the backseat. Where's the volume for the radio again?

*There's an English version available at the main exam center where I have to take the final exam, but the school only has Japanese versions for the permit test (To get your permit, you need to take 12 hours of driving and 10 hours of instruction. Then to get your real license, you need to take 19 hours of driving and 12 hours of instruction, followed by taking the written exam at the main driving center.) When I compare it to my USD 30 New York State license, I feel like I've fallen into the rabbit's hole in Alice in Wonderland. Now I just need to find that pesky rabbit. Maybe he can take the exam for me.

4 of you feeling verklempt. Tawlk amongst yourselves:

Anonymous said...

Ah the things our children drive us to......
Love Mom

Lulu said...

I am going to change my licence over on Friday or or Monday- It seems to be a lot easier for Aussies.

Good luck!!!!

Mande's J-Life said...

Do you have a license in the USA? If you did, you could gotten around this issue by simply applying for your International License, use that to drive around town and practice in your husband's car and when you feel ready, you go down to the center and take your test. I had to do the driving test in Japanese and the written part was very short and easy - also in Japanese I think, but I can't remember. No, maybe it was English, but there were only 10 questions. They tested all the foreigners at one time each day, and of the 20 that were there, only 3 of us passed. Anyway, life will be sweet once you get your license! Good luck!

thefukases said...

Hey Driving school buddy! I had never driven before I came here so I did driving school, too. Be prepared to know a lot more about the roads than anyone else around you!

I did all the exams in Japanese with furigana as I was worried I wouldn't know the English for all the stuff I'd learnt. I really loved getting back into student mode and still get nostalgic when I drive past my school...


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