Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Getting a Driving License in Japan Part 6

(photos from Shonan Kinen Park in Tachikawa)

Sunny day
Sweepin' the clouds away
On my way
To take the fuckingmotorcycledrivingtestinJapanforthe5thtime

Can you tell me how to get
How to get to the damn 運転免許試験センタ?

By this point I didn't really care if I passed or not. I re-framed the concept of getting my license. It's just something I do once a week. The idea of cruising along the plains of Hokkaido, or visiting remote temples on mountain tops is something I can worry about later. Right now it's just part of my life. Wake up, brush your teeth, and take a driving test.

Well, I passed just fine this time.

That's where my story ends and Mike, aka lucky bastard's story begins.

There was one other guy taking the test with me today. It was his first time. A nice guy, so I gave him some advice. Advice like, "Yeah, I failed here because the radius of my turn was off by 5 centimeters." He's been riding Harley's for a while, so he was feeling pretty confident. He reminds me of a young me, young meaning a month ago.

I was first to go. He complimented me on what looked like an excellent run on my part. As he hit the throttle on the CB750, the bike jerked into motion. He was a bit wild on it, but you could tell he knew how to ride. A few failing mistakes were obvious, like making a right turn from the left lane, getting a bit too close to the yellow line, not having his right foot on the foot brake at all stops. After his run, we were informed that I passed and he failed. The instructor asked me to teach him how to run the course so he could pass next time. It was cute. Poor Mike, though, wasn't feeling too good. I told him that most people fail the first time, don't worry about it. There are a lot of theories, one of which is that they just want to get some extra money.

Off to the 3rd floor counter to continue whatever steps I needed to do. The counter lady, who is not the one conducting the tests, called us both to the counter, and said we had to go to some place on the 1st floor. I whispered, "Dude, don't act strange... but they just fucked up and marked us both as pass."

Lucky guy.

So anyways, you sit around for a few hours, then you get the license. You have to pay another 2100 yen. So the total price, if you care, is 3000 yen for the license translation + 2950 yen each time you take the test + 2100 yen. So I spent about $200 to get it done. And there you have it.

The next bike... I was thinking some sort of adventure tourer, like a BMW F650GS, or KTM. Or maybe Ill go with some sort of sport ride. But after thinking, I'll probably go with another CB or similar bike like the last one, just a much bigger engine. Some I'm looking at:

The goal is to be riding along mountain crests, Japanese maple trees blinding me with their reds, oranges, and yellows.


Anonymous said...

Where did you go to take the test? I really need to get a Japanese license (for car driving) at some point, apparently as soon as I can afford it.

Ramen Adventures said...

The Samezu Driving Center is the easiest. It's the best for people in urban Tokyo. (http://gmap.jp/shop-3504.html) I went to the one in Fuchu because it was closer to my place. Good luck!