Friday, April 27

"What a Star!" or "I'm Awesome!"

I don't know why my face is so red... either the coffee, the mild attempts at flirtation from a young Brazilian or being watched while I had my picture taken.
Either way, I am smiling a little...

Today was my Driving Test, Vol. 2. You'll remember that the last time I couldn't even take the written test because my visa and alien registration card had expired. This time was for realsies.

I had but one hindrance to an otherwise smooth process: when I got to Gifu Station, in the last month they managed to renovate the bus area. So now, instead of Stop 5, the bus I needed was at Stop 11. And then there were a few going to the area I wanted, only some of which went to the exact place I needed. However, my Japanese did not fail me (barely) and I got the right bus - along with about a bazillion high schoolers who refused to sit down next to anyone, choosing instead to clog the aisle. I got a seat. Suckas.

As luck would have it today, the only other foreign folks taking their test with me were 4 Brazilians, 3 of whom were lead by a translator who graciously adopted me into the group, guiding me about and making sure I understood each step. Like a little lost puppy.

The following is a list of fallacies (check your dictionaries, pervos), or "rules that don't always apply, apparently" related to the process of taking your driving test.

1.) Myth: Your test will be in the afternoon, affording you ample time during the lunch hour to walk the course.
My reality: As soon as we were told we'd passed the "written" (read: "circling") part of the test, we proceeded to the waiting room where our gracious guide explained the course with the help of a map and took questions. Of course, they were very concerned about whether I had practiced driving, and thought I didn't understand the question, and so had another English-speaking brasileiro put it to me in English. Wakarimashita, yo. From there we went right out to the course and of course I was called in the first pair to go. Fortunately, the guy who apparently had practiced on a similar course went first, while I rode in back taking mental notes. He had a near perfect drive (even I noticed his one obvious mistake) so I had a good role model. When it came my turn, the examiner made several notes on his paper, making me increasingly nervous and sure that I would fail (he only wrote once with the other guy - when he made his one mistake). When I got out, my hands and legs were trembling, as I sheepishly trudged over to my waiting co-sufferers.

2.) Myth: The examiners are evil curmudgeons.
My reality: Our examiner had been hanging around since I first got there, helping along the way. I kind of had an inkling that he might be handling the practical test, so I tried to be smiley and polite. He was so kind the whole way, so I felt very much "at ease." Also, a special shout-out to Katou-san, the man who handled all our paperwork and was so nice to me last time when I couldn't do the test and who made sure I understood everything this time, including the very long "explanation" when I was finally handed my license. Hontoni arigatou gozaimashita, Katou-san!

3.) Myth: Only one or two people per day pass the test.
My reality: Of the five of us who took the test together, four of us passed - the three guys who were with "my" interpreter and I. The other guy, who was with his own interpreter, didn't look very confident right from the start. Sorry, amigo. Gambatte, ne.

Aanyhoo, there you have it. I am now a legal driver in Japan. Aaand... exhale.


Anonymous robin said...

Wow - congrats! Welcome back to the land of licensed drivers! And I heard the test was impossible to pass on the first try...

11:02 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I took my test at Mitabora in Gifu also 3 years ago, and out of 10 gaijin that took the driving test, only myself and one other person passed.

10:24 PM


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