Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Driving along

The other day, I went out driving here in Japan for the first time ever. Gboy says that I, "drive too much on your side of the road." Well then. Who knew all those years of practicing to drive to the right of the line would be for naught? His point is well taken. We're in a fairly "suburban-ish" or rural area outside of Osaka (okay not rural like his aunts and uncles who live outside of Fukuoka - that's rural) but still. Having been in downtown Osaka I can tell you we aren't even close to that kind of urban living. The roads here are very narrow and often barely wide enough for two cars (pretty typical for Japan I guess). As such, if no one else is coming your way, standard practice is to drive in the middle of the road. Must learn to do this! Also, must try to use directional signals instead of windshield wipers to let other drivers know where I'm going. (Being from the US, I see them as being on the "wrong" side of the steering column over here!)

Having lived in Seattle for the last 8 years, and having been a single-car family for about 6 years during that time, I really came to depend on public transportation and did very little driving. This means that I am in some ways learning how to drive all over again. And at this point, while driving may occasionally be a necessary evil, I can honestly say I'd prefer to stick to the buses and trains whenever possible!


  1. I hear you! I have only driven once in a foreign country - Germany - out in the country from a home to a small village. Talk about nervous. In Japan, give me my bicycle, train or bus any day! Good luck! I am sure that sometimes, with Peanut, you will be SOOO happy to be able to drive here! Kiotsukette, ne!

    PS; I've got eggnog on the shopping list! Can't wait to hear your next cookie recipe!

  2. I made my husband drive on our vacation to the Caribbean, I knew I would get in an accident trying to drive on the left. He did very well, but then he had trouble driving on the right again when we came back to the U.S. It's a lot to think about at once, when you are used to taking it for granted!

  3. Ahhh but rural driving has it's own set of hazrads- rural drivers for one!! I really, really don't enjoy driving and didn't get my license until I was too heavily pregnant with baby number 2 to safely strap a toddler on my back and scoot around on my bike. I am so looking forward to a day when we can all go for bike rides together but unfortunately I think living where I do I will always need to drive. :(

    And the don't drive on your side of the road thing always sounded crazy to me until I fell into one of those water ditches. oops! Now I, too, drive down the middle!

  4. Driving down those skinny narrow roads here in Japan, which by American standards would be the width of an alley! *winks* Ha ha ha!
    Nothing like feeling like you are playing a round of chicken!!! : )

  5. the fukases: I hope no one was hurt! And golly how would you go about getting your car out of one of those ditches?! I want to cry in frustration just thinking about it. My husband and I were driving along one day and he got stuck in a corner - literally - on the road and we had to scrape some paint of the car to get out. I nearly cried then too. Can you tell I'm no longer an experienced driver?!