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Hey there! I've decided to continue blogging at a different blog. The MEXT archives and some of my travel posts will remain here, but I'll be moving some stuff over. Hope to see you there!

Saturday, 3 December 2016

I Passed my First Driving Test!

I hope December is treating you well! Personally, I can't believe that we're already at the end of the year. Where did the rest of 2016 go, and why does it feel like time speeds up as I'm getting older?

On the last day of November, two very important things occurred. The first is that my mom and bro came for their yearly visit. The second is that I took my first driving test!

I was actually hoping to have been able to take the test a little earlier, but it was not to be. My driving skills weren't really up to par, and the instructors didn't deem me fit until last week (but they are pretty accurate at judging, seeing how I passed on my first go).

And I don't think I've really recapped it here, so this is what happened since I entered driving school: I took 10 hours of theory classes and 18 hours of practical lessons (the curriculum is for 15 hours, but I had to extend it since I couldn't master it in time). It sounds rather little, writing it up like that, but I was doing only two or three hours a week, so it took me about a month and a half to finish. And since this is only stage one, I really have to be more diligent about stage two if I want to pass in time. Anyway, apart from lessons, once I finished my theory lessons, I took a mock theory paper (and passed it on the first go), which is one of the requirements to take this driving exam.

The Practical Exam

I was the third person in my group, so I had to wait 40+ min before it was my turn to drive! Half the time was in the waiting area and half the time was in the backseat of the car. And the thing is... I seriously thought I failed. At the slope, I forgot to pull the handbrake when I stopped and the car ROLLED BACKWARDS. I immediately braked and redid everything but I was so freaked by the whole thing that the rest of the slope portion was quite terrible.

But the instructor said that apart from that, the rest of my driving was good (because I remembered to signal and check for sudden pedestrians and bicycles and whatnot) so I guess the number of points that got deducted at the slop was less than the max number of points that could be deducted.

After that, they did a 適性検査 (suitability test) which is basically eyesight and whether you can use your fingers and stuff like that.

Theory Test

The theory paper was pretty much like the last time, but my "pass" is actually only an assumed pass. My marks still have to be checked by the part of Fukuoka that runs these things.

Although we got the results quite fast (less than 10min), it still felt like forever! Plus, the way they announce the results is that the people who don't pass have their number written on the board, so you really hope you don't see your number.

Out of the 13 people who made it to the theory round, 10 of us passed.

And then we had a briefing on how the second half of the course would go, and then a break (now) before the next lesson. The next lesson was basically a crash course on how to ride a motorised bicycle (a scooter?), since getting a drivings license means that you have a license to ride that too.

To make things clear, I have not yet gotten my driving license. All these tests were for my 仮免許 (kari menkyo - temporary license), which basically allows me on the roads in order to practice driving. Till now, I've only been driving on the school's course.

I have a kimono lesson tomorrow, so I'll sign off now. I do have a picture-filled post (or posts?) coming up, so do check back for that!

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