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Japanese Driver's License

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RE: Japanese Driver's License

Postby Harisenbon » Mon 09.10.2007 3:52 am

keatonatron wrote:
One trick I used when I first started driving here is I would focus on my right hand--the significance being you control the turns signals with your right hand and keep the oncoming traffic to your right side.


Another thing that is a good habit to get into for the test is pointing at your mirrors when you check them. It shows that you are making a conscious effort to check for the non-existant traffic around you. I had a friend fail because "it was not clear enough that he was checking his mirrors."

Also, how strict the test is depends on the prefecture. Gifu is apparently pretty strict because out of a group of 30 of us, only 2 passed (me, and a guy who was on his 5th time).
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RE: Japanese Driver's License

Postby Mike Cash » Mon 09.10.2007 7:21 am

In case anyone is curious about the three-month thingy....

That particular rule was instituted not with foreign drivers in mind, but Japanese drivers. There used to be a problem of Japanese kids going overseas, getting a license in a short time under the much more relaxed circumstances, coming back home, converting to a Japanese license, and driving like crap.

Or such was the official rationale. The much more likely case is that it was eating into the income of driving schools in Japan, and the cops (retired cops, actually) are very deeply in bed with them. It doesn't matter how well a person can actually drive, if the cops know a (Japanese) person didn't quite literally pay their dues at driving school, there is no way in hell they will pass them. The system is rigged to protect the financial interests of the schools and the 天下り ex-cops they have on the payroll as "consultants".

With such things as private plane and helicopter licensing, there is a thriving business in the U.S. providing live-in arrangements for aspiring Japanese aviators, who find it cheaper to go to the U.S. for training/licensing than to do it here.
Last edited by Mike Cash on Mon 09.10.2007 7:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Japanese Driver's License

Postby spin13 » Mon 09.10.2007 10:05 am

Mike Cash wrote:The much more likely case is that it was eating into the income of driving schools in Japan, and the cops (retired cops, actually) are very deeply in bed with them.


With cops in bed with driving instructors, and Board of Education members in bed with school uniform tailors, and so on, why does Japan have such a terrible reputation for sex? I mean, think of all the handcuffs and role-play opportunities.
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RE: Japanese Driver's License

Postby keatonatron » Mon 09.10.2007 10:35 am

spin13 wrote:
why does Japan have such a terrible reputation for sex?


What do you mean? Japan has a huge sex industry, with all the handcuffs and role playing you could possibly imagine.
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RE: Japanese Driver's License

Postby two_heads_talking » Mon 09.10.2007 3:47 pm

spin13 wrote:
Mike Cash wrote:The much more likely case is that it was eating into the income of driving schools in Japan, and the cops (retired cops, actually) are very deeply in bed with them.


With cops in bed with driving instructors, and Board of Education members in bed with school uniform tailors, and so on, why does Japan have such a terrible reputation for sex? I mean, think of all the handcuffs and role-play opportunities.


terrible reputation? I guess it all depends on your outlook of sex or lack thereof.

beside spin, you would think with your name that you could keep up with the inuendo and play along rather than trying to c*(Kblock. (grin)
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RE: Japanese Driver's License

Postby keatonatron » Tue 09.11.2007 5:17 am

two_heads_talking wrote:
beside spin, you would think with your name that you could keep up with the inuendo and play along rather than trying to c*(Kblock. (grin)


Again, I have no idea what this means. Is 13 supposed to be a dirty number? It sure doesn't excite me in any way.

And how the heck is he CBing? There's no possibility of "scoring" for him to get in the way of.
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RE: Japanese Driver's License

Postby Infidel » Tue 09.11.2007 7:04 am

spin the bottle?
なるほど。
さっぱりわからん。
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RE: Japanese Driver's License

Postby two_heads_talking » Tue 09.11.2007 9:49 am

keatonatron wrote:
two_heads_talking wrote:
beside spin, you would think with your name that you could keep up with the inuendo and play along rather than trying to c*(Kblock. (grin)


Again, I have no idea what this means. Is 13 supposed to be a dirty number? It sure doesn't excite me in any way.

And how the heck is he CBing? There's no possibility of "scoring" for him to get in the way of.


since the comment was directed to spin, your comprehension isn't necessary. sorry.
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RE: Japanese Driver's License

Postby spin13 » Tue 09.11.2007 6:43 pm

I don't get it either.
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RE: Japanese Driver's License

Postby somethinorwatever » Tue 09.11.2007 8:46 pm

pubju wrote:
Wow...

In england, you have to first take a written test and get like 80% correct, then you need to successfully pass a driving simulation thing called 'hazard perception', then if you pass those 2, you have to take an EXTREMELY strict 1 hour test where you drive around town and prove you can drive, and do 3 'manuveres' (3 point turns, parallel parking, reverse round corner .etc). I passed on my 3rd time. And the worst part is that it costs about £60 per try (which is about $120).

I wish the english test was as easy as the american one :(
At least the drivers there are safer than here...
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RE: Japanese Driver's License

Postby Igirisu_gaz » Fri 09.14.2007 11:05 am

Yeah it does cost a bunch to get your licence from scratch in Japan, most people go to the 30 day "guaranteed pass" schools I believe, but I am not 100% sure.

As a foreigner, having a driving license already lessens the costs significantly, as stated an IDP will last for a year, if you renew if after that you are taking a gamble. The Police are aware of the law surrounding the 1 year usage limit of international licenses and should you get pulled up you can get a hefty fine, worse yet, if you get in an accident your insurance company are able to weasel their way out of covering you by contesting the validity of your license (should they have the smarts to do so - you can always get lucky). Also be aware your IDP is invalid without your own countires license to accompany it, should you get in an accident you will also want either your passort or gaijin card.

I believe Americans do take a cut down version of the practical and written test upon production of a valid US license, but it is not the same for everyone. As a UK citizen, I got off light, all I had to do was get JAF to translate my license and then go to the Traffic center (交通センター)a couple of times and suffer Japanese bureaucracy and an unflattering photo coupled with some rather over priced stamps and I got a 3 year licence (初心者). All they bothered to do was test my eyesight and ask me if my hands moved. They have to make a million copies of everything you give them as well and you will have to fill out a form to say you haven't commited any crimes or caused any accidents etc. To be honest my Japanese wasn't great when I took it so I was slightly confused by a couple of the questions but "no" seemed to be the route to go down.
As always YMMV. I get the impression the guys I dealt with were worn out desk drones who just wanted the whole affair to be over with as quickly as possible

The process is called "Gaimen Kirikae", and someone at the traffic center should know about it, most of the information was in Japanese only when I went and there were no English speakers, but to be honest you can probably just slog your way through it with very basic Japanese.

Here are a couple of handy sites about it, as always there's a wealth of information on the web about this sort of thing

http://www.jaf.or.jp/e/switch.htm
http://www.supermelf.com/japan/ajetdrivingbook/

In a nutshell, my advice: When you land, start finding out where to go to do all the stuff you need to do. It may be a pain in the ass, but much less so than taking the test from scratch or the potential fine and loss of job if you get caught stretching an IDP.
Last edited by Igirisu_gaz on Fri 09.14.2007 11:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Japanese Driver's License

Postby Pianogirl123 » Sun 09.16.2007 12:48 am

you know in my state, Illinois, you sometimes don't even have to take the driving test. If you pass the high school driver's ed. class with a B or higher you can skip the test and get your liscence right away... -.-
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RE: Japanese Driver's License

Postby Mike Cash » Sun 09.16.2007 1:29 am

Pianogirl123 wrote:
you know in my state, Illinois, you sometimes don't even have to take the driving test. If you pass the high school driver's ed. class with a B or higher you can skip the test and get your liscence right away... -.-


Lack of a national standard is what prevents the US and Japan from entering into reciprocity agreements regarding licensing and results in Americans converting to Japanese licenses to have to go through some steps that people from some other countries are spared.
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