Tuesday, January 22, 2008

J-DMV part ugh

I made another attempt to complete the first step to getting my driver's license. On my mom's advice, I went to the Samezu location instead of Fuchu, like last time. She and sister C. say that they're nicer at Samezu.

Since getting to Oimachi station takes many fewer changes than to Samezu, I opted to go that route, because I'm a pedometer freak. I wandered around with my little map, past street corner octopus-ball stands and tiny, perfect shrines.

I arrived at the Driver's Test Center in plenty of time, reams of documents in hand. I had my alien card; my passport; my U.S. driver's license, the translation of said license, a letter from the DMV with the original date of issue of said license, and gobs of money. I waited in line and was sent from window to window, presenting things and paying for other things. Window 25 on the first floor; to window 8 on the third floor; back to window 15 on the first floor again before going up to window 29573 on the second floor. At least I was a bit familiar with the layout, having been there before with C. to attempt (unsuccessfully) the 50cc bike test. After presenting all my documents, paying money, and getting an insta-photo down in the lobby, I was allowed to take the 10-question written test on a touch-screen computer, in English. The questions were simple and common sense. It took about 10 minutes. I got 9/10 correct - I had misinterpreted a sign painted on the road. Since the requirement was 7/10 correct, I had passed.

I then had to make an appointment for the practical exam. It was chock-a-block booked for several weeks, especially on the days that I have off. No weekend tests. I finally settled on an afternoon almost a month in the future. They gave me yet more papers and what looked like a gym membership card and a printout of some of the major test points. Fingers crossed; I've heard they fail everyone on the first try.

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