Drivers, start your engines!

So I took the Japanese driver’s license test for the second time yesterday — and failed for the second time.  The first time, I failed basically because I forgot to shift a little to the left when turning left (driving on the other side of the road here, folks) to avoid a collision with forward-going bicycles or motor scooters.  This time, I shifted a little too much to the left and dropped a wheel into the “gutter,” resulting in automatic failing.  What’s worse, the man who was attending my test (on a driving course, where there is only one other car and on which the top speed is MAYBE 10 miles per hour) FREAKED OUT when I dropped the wheel, as if I was going 70mph around a corner, with traffic speeding my way and pedestrians everywhere — his whole body jumped, arms flailing, and then he looked at me with a scowl on his face, and his eyes said, “I can’t believe you would purposely do such a horrific act and endanger my precious life.”  *sigh*  I felt like an idiot.  I very quietly said “I’m sorry” in Japanese as he grabbed his clipboard from the dash and made a big “check” on the right side of the page.  I cried when I got out of the car.  I feel more nervous each time I go because the test feels so subjective — there aren’t really any difficult areas, no parallel parking or anything, a very EASY test.  And yet, out of seven foreigners who took the test, both times only one person as received their license.  Rarely does anyone receive it the first time.  It’s an interesting system, and I think the Japanese government probably uses it with their own people to reinforce the “group” mentality, the idea that we’ll all get along better if you just do as we want you to — “the nail that sticks up, gets hammered down.”  I’m feeling a little hammered.  Next time, I told Jesus that it’s just going to be me and Him in the car, that I’m not even going to think or care about the instructor, I’m just going to enjoy driving the same course, making the same turns at the same corners, at a very slow pace.  Hopefully that will help.  Hopefully I can pull it off — they’re quite intimidating.

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2 thoughts on “Drivers, start your engines!

  1. I am saddened to hear this story. But at the same time, i am amazed at how ‘full’ the story is. If this were fiction..it would be incredible. it says so much…about people, the Japanese, society, driving, fear, failure, hope…

    thanks for sharing. and dont take it personally that dude was upset. he was fine. 🙂

  2. Pingback: Licensed to kill.. roadkill, that is « high countries

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