Feeling of Power


Several countries around the world have signed a treaty to allow conversion of driving licenses for foreign residents. Japan has a ‘special’ way of interpreting this document. On December 12th I will have a shot at getting the automobile portion of my license converted. This hopefully will be a key turning point in a process that began in July. After this I can start the process of getting my motorcycle endorsement ‘converted’.

Recently I have been feeling run-down and I think this governmental discrimination has been a key factor. Monday night I needed to return some rental DVDs. My throat was sore; it started to rain; and it’s a 30 minute hard ride to the shop. Instead of being home resting I was out riding in the cold. Experiences like this leave me pretty exhausted on most days. My other choices were to pay late fees or ride the train. Unfortunately, the train riding involves about 35 minutes of walking and three trains (with poor connections) one way. Round trip fare about 1100 yen: more than the actual rentals.

Contrasting that with last night: I went with a friend to dinner; dropped off film for developing; and stopped to buy foreign foods at a specialty shop (including a present for a friend that was too large/heavy to carry on a bike.) All of this was done quickly and smoothly, even though the destinations were spread out and none of them were near train stations. What an amazing feeling of power. However, I can’t call Japanese friends away from their busy schedules on a whim, just to chauffeur me around.

The last hitch in the process definitely falls into the category of systematic racism, but I am still unwilling to write it up because I’m still very disappointed by it. Perhaps after a (hopefully) successful visit on the 12th, I will be in a good enough mood to talk about it.


2 Responses to “Feeling of Power”

  1. kevenker Says:

    That’s why people hate public transit. It’s expensive and ridiculously time-consuming If you live in a high-density area, it’s really nice. The less dense it gets, the more painful it is to depend on it. I’d be screwed up where I live w/o a car. NOTHING is close and the roads are carefully designed to maximize distances. I think they do that so there are lots of cul-de-sacs so traffic is minimized for a maximum number of houses.

  2. びっくり Says:

    They could achieve the same effect with straight roads and cul-de-sacs though. I think the curvy roads are supposed to give a more natural feeling. Also, on the main roads you don’t have to see a string of houses that goes forever.

    I wrote in the original blog about towns that developed around castles having intentional confusing roadways to help in defense; invading armies would get lost easily. We still have a lot of those roads here, which makes things a bit wacky.

    I hope I can get my license on the 12th. It will give me a choice then. Public transit can be convenient, as you said, depending on where your are travelling. When it is inconvenient I want to have options. Sunday I need to go to a Christmas party in a close place, but far from transit. I was hoping to go by bike (about 20 minutes), but the weather report is calling for rain…

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