Friday, December 16, 2011

No right on red...

I have to say I NEVER... let me say it again... NEVER thought I would drive a Cube. I've seen them in the U.S. They seem cute enough, but just not for me. Folks have been adoring these little cars here in Nippon since 1998, in the U.S. just since 2009. I thought they were too small for my "s/he keeps touching me!" kids. Actually they're plenty roomy, and in the cube³, I could've thrown one in the 3rd row of seats, but the cube³ was vetoed by my hubby. He, incidentally, is really in love with this vehicle. He mentioned that I was going to look quite stylish getting out of the car, but I'm inclined to believe that he's just trying to butter me up to like her more. I was actually quite smitten with a Cube in a really fun pastel blue, but we ended up passing on it. I think he was glad he didn't have to get ribbed by his fellow soldiers.

I thought I'd familiarize some of you all with some of the fun aspects of driving in Japan. I actually learned to drive in Japan as I was here when I turned 16. So, with my dad accompanying me with his hand wrapped around the emergency break {yes, he actually did pull it up}, I first learned to cruise the streets of Yokosuka before cruising Route 66.


This symbol is basically one's answer to "What the....?" You know you've thought that when you've been driving. You see a driver do something crazy and you quietly {or sometimes not quietly} say, "What the...?!" Drivers in Japan who have been driving under a year get the Wakaba or Shoshinsha symbol to grace their car, so the rest of us know they are new and avoid them at all costs.

2. The bigger your engine & the greater your emissions, the bigger your road tax. So, bigger is not necessarily better.

3. A stop sign in Japan is an upside down triangle.

4. There is a Daihatsu "Naked" here among other colorfully named vehicles, one named "Dump." Hmmm...

5. You must prove you have a parking space before you purchase a vehicle.

6. Roads in Okinawa are actually mixed with coral so you actually have to take that into consideration when the road is wet, which is starting to look like nearly always.

7. The Japanese have a totally zero tolerance policy toward drunk driving & as a result very little DWIs. You cannot have ANY alcohol in your system if you operate a vehicle. To keep this law effective, they have "drunk taxis" consisting of 2 drivers, one for you, one for your car. GENIUS!

8. Japan ranks 2nd in the world for vehicles per square kilometer. Yes, there are a lot of cars.

9. When stopping at intersections, Japanese drivers will turn off their headlights to avoid blinding on coming drivers. Just another way that the Japanese are so polite.

10. ...and last but not least my favorite...

This is a Koreisha symbol. It is the polar opposite of the Shoshinsha symbol. While a Shoshinsha refers to a "new leaf" or a "beginner," the Japanese have required the Koreisha for drivers over the age of 70. The above is the older symbol. Elderly Japanese became miffed at the suggestion that it implied death with the yellowing of the leaves. The result? The Japanese Government changed it and here is the new symbol...

Good on them!


Theresa said...

I love those symbols and the idea of a higher road tax with a bigger vehicle!

Brandi said...

This is fascinating! OK,the Cube IS cute! It would be great if we could have the new driver and elderly stickers over here!!! HAHA!

Anonymous said...

`Merry Christmas` to you and yours Tina..hope your having a lovely day :) x

Anonymous said...

I hope you are well and your Christmas was awesome!

I am so excited for your family!

I started a new blog. I had issues after changing my url last fall and Blogger suggested that i export posts and import them to a new i did...

I would LOVE to have you check it out and follow along when you get a chance!