Friday, June 03, 2005

Driver`s Nightmare

I went driving the past 3 days in a row. It`s insanely stressful. For Japanese drivers too, most people here will be sure to point out their distress at having to drive. Where as I am used to the wide open spaces of Montana four lane intestates and double wide city streets, the streets here in Japan are a different matter. These narrow streets in Kumamoto city wind intricately around to confused invading armies of tourists. In the past they served well to missguide the invading Shogunate forces bullish enough to attempt to take over another providences castle. Kumamoto`s castle is one of the most beautiful in Japan, and is ranked among the top three most widely visited among tourists.

The car I be driving

The not so wide enough for 2 vehicles -often fits only 1 box sized Japanese-mini-car streets would be a challenge for even the most seasoned veterans of driving. As I had to pass a Toyota 4-Runner on one of these ultra narrow Kumamoto streets, I realized that I would have more room on an ordinary American double laned pedestrian sidewalk. For those who think of the Toyota 4 Runner as just a mid-sized SUV back in America don`t realize that in Japan that 4 Runner is the size of a mid-sized SUV back in America! It was a stop and drive into a nook between a powerline pole and a fence manuver without dying as the minirature off road monster passed on by. Luckily, I managed and live to tell you all about it!

Walking my Pal "S" on the all too narrow street.

Also, it is strange getting used to using the rear-view mirrors constantly. I thought I used them lots in America, but no. Here you have to be on the lookout for scooters passing on all four sides of the vehicle at any given moment! This is to ensure that the scooter and scooterist never passes directly underneath the vehicle, the one place that the law require scooterists not to go. Most stressful however is having to make a right hand turn in front of oncoming traffic in the center of the main street with the trolly lurching up behind you... knowing that the trolly won`t stop for you, and that the cars in front most likely will flatten you like a melting Hershey`s kiss on a summer day.

Until next time...

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