Driving Archives

September 20, 2006

Driving in Japan!

Six days in Japan so far, and I have learned--or tried to learn--so much. Today was my first time to drive in Japan. For those of you who don't know, in Japan, we drive on the wrong--oops, a "different"-- side of the road. I only went on the wrong side twice! Thankfully I was corrected quickly and no harm was done! Overall, though, it was very stressful. Akihiro is a very patient driver instructor, for which I am very thankful! In fact right now I am sitting in the lounge at his driving school. He is taking a 20+ hour course so that he can drive a 15 passenger van. Right now he is driving around an "obstacle course" style of park for driving! Driving is a very serious thing here. After today, I can see why. The roads and lanes are very narrow and there are many signs, signals, motorbikes, bicycles, and pedestrians. Just to get a regular driver's license you have to pay $2000 to take a major course. Nothing like driver's ed in high school for nearly free! Thankfully since I have an International Driver's license, I can drive for a year. Then I will have to take a short driving test. I've heard stories already, though, that foreigners have had to take it 10 times before--the test is so picky! I'm glad I have a year to practice!

April 23, 2007

A new "job"

I got a call from my language school in Kofu that they are "down" a teacher this week and were wondering if I could help out with some of their English classes for children--5 and 10 years old. I worried that I wouldn't be able to do it because of my poor Japanese, but he says that I will be with a Japanese teacher and that if I can just say, "My favorite color is____" I will be a success! Sounds easy enough for me! I will teach Tuesday and Wednesday for about 2.5 hours in the late afternoon. I am looking forward to it!

Spring continues to be in full bloom here! The flowering trees are done, but there are lots of other interesting flowers--many I have never seen before! I've got to be careful though, when I am out for a walk. Today as I walked along a narrow street gauking at the flowers, I about walked into the open gutter! On the older roads here they have these open gutters that are over a foot deep and at least a foot wide that rain water runs in. Lois told me that it is so funny to observe when somebody drives in one. The other drivers get out of their cars and lift it back on the road, bow to eachother, and get back in their cars and drive away. I have never seen it and am trying to be very careful not to put my car in the gutter! I'm still not totally used to driving in Japan--nor the bowing thing! It makes me get the giggles sometimes! I do find, though, that I am starting to bow too--almost unconsciously. I hope I don't bow to the minister on the pulpit in Tremont when he says good morning or finishes up!

Well, I am counting the days until we go home to the States--we leave on Saturday! My mother, the typical mom, is already asking about our favorite foods she can cook while we are home! My mouth is watering already when I think about a nice juicy steak!

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