Lately I have been trying to pass the drivers test here in Japan since you are only allowed to use the International driver’s license for a year before you are required to get a real license.
Here is the score so far.
– I take the written test after waiting about 2 hours to take the thing. I spend about $40ish on a booklet (obviously it cost about $1.50 to make) and read all the true false questions they have. Most of the English is fine but it is missing one or two words that change the sentence from a statement to a question. Despite this I pass. I recieve a paper to take my drivers test 2 weeks later on a Friday.
Day 2 (Friday)
– Im fairly cofident seeing that I have been driving since I was 15 and am now 24. Though the roads are narrower here, they drive half the speed. And unlike me and other Americans, most of the Japanese do not drive every single day. So I thought atleast in this area I would have greater chances. However the one major difference is, they arent testing you on being a good driver, they are testing you on driving a course they have layed out. And you have to drive it like a robot.
-Anyway what happend was that I failed because a car that was about a block away from me, was coming towards me in the lane I was going to turn past. There was plently of room. As soon as I hit the gas, the instructor hit his little break thing and told me to take the car back to the starting area. He then began to lecture me saying that the purpose of this course is to show that people know how to drive safely (which is a lie.)
After failing for something that stupid I decided to for over $300 to take 3 driving lessons.
Day 3/4 (driving lessons)
-So the first day I take the drivers lesson the teacher drives the car to show me where to go. My girlfriend is supposed to be translating but she isnt able to because the instructor wont stop chatting with her (old men seem to love her, not even joking). Lucky for me, I understand more Japanese than I speak. So i get the jist of whats happening and improve quite a bit. By this time I have the course memorized.
-The 2nd and 3rd lessons where taken on the next day with the same teacher. So far he told me that I was doing everything correctly. I told my GF to tell him that I want to know every little thing that I need to do to pass the test. So I got a few comments and I followed all of them. By the last hour I was driving the course without him paying attention cause he was enjoying talking to my GF. (Fine with me as long as he tells me what I need to know to pass.) So I finish the practice sessions and the teacher says that I should definitely pass. ( I forgot to say that I am taking the manual test, since there are seperate tests for AT and MT)
– The test day part 2. So I have memorized the course down to every little turn and every little shift. Exactly as I was taught. I wait 2 hours to take the test cause foreigners have to go last. Its my turn to get into the back seat while another drives. So im sitting in the seat knowing that its my turn next.
– So this dude going before me I notice that he is driving really slow. Not only is he driving really slow. Hes in 3rd gear!!! WTF. The car is almost stalling and hes just going through the course. I knew he wasnt going to pass. I was wondering if he even knew how to drive manual. So after he took the S turns to0 fast (they make a very very narrow area you have to navigate through and if you touch the curb you fail) the instructor tells him to go back and the test is over. On the way back this dude just drive the car ignoring lanes and not even using his blinker and whatnot.
-My turn comes. The dude before me goes to the back seat and its my turn to drive. So i start. I do everything exactly as Im supposed to. Then a little ways in the instructor tells me I need to shift up more. Now I start getting nervous. My teacher told my I was driving perfect. And now I got to upshift in an area where I didn’t before. (The problem is there is no time to shift in the area I was being told to upshift. By the time I would have gotten into second gear I would have to hit the breaks.) So I just ignored him. Kept doing things the way I was taught. Now I do everything perfect up to the same point as the other guy. Then he says, the test is over go back. WTF are you serious?!?! So I drive back.
-In the car alone He then tells me that my problem was that I wasnt shifting enough. (seriously?) Then the next thing he says is that when Im turning, I should look left, then right, then turn facing forward. So what this means is eventhough Im turning left. I should not be looking left while turning. By now Im beyond pissed. So I tell him in Japanese, (i know he could understand me but still acted like he couldnt) I have driven this course exactly how my instructor told me. I took three classes and spent 3 hours driving this course. I had absolutely no problems. And why should I have to be in 3rd or even second when Im stoping in 30ft?
-So now I have failed twice. I dont have time to take the test again when my vacation is up. So for now I have about 2 more trys before I cant try again for a long time withouth taking another paid vacation. To make matters worse. I just bought a car. Its sitting in my $100 a month parking lot, paying $100 a month for third party insurance. Im a very very sad guy at the moment.
To be continued………….