Author Topic: That fun get a Japanese Driver's License game!  (Read 83518 times)

shneen

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That fun get a Japanese Driver's License game!
« on: January 31, 2008, 07:25:13 PM »
Alright... so I have an appointment for the interview part of getting my license later this month.... and I have a couple of questions...

How imperative is it that I have someone go with me for the interview? I can speak fairly well, but when I asked my scheduler about it getting someone to go with me I was told "There many ALTs who have only been in Japan for a year that speak way less Japanese than you do and they passed on their own. Good luck and tell us how you do."   I'd rather be safe than sorry.  I can always bribe a friend into going with me, but I don't see why I should have to bother them when my company has people they pay to do stuff like this... but that's beside the point.

Also... yay or nay to lessons on the course beforehand?  The driving test does worry me a bit, as I didn't have to take one to get my license in the States... so not really sure what to expect.

Thanks guys!


EDIT : Here is the current version of the driving guide. Although it is a summary of this thread, use it in conjunction with reading the thread and it will help you out a lot. Fred
« Last Edit: October 27, 2012, 04:03:02 PM by fred »

Kebin

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Re: That fun get a Japanese Driver's License game!
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2008, 07:39:19 PM »
I thought that I heard that a Japanese person had to be with you regardless of your Japanese level, is that wrong? I don't think I could have ever made it through the hour long interview, especially with all those questions they asked me about my passport and driving history..

The driving lessons serve the purpose to both teach you the course and as a means of bribery (paying money into their system). When I got my license the tester asked me if I had taken lessons before he gave me the results. I don't think that's coincidental.

fred

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Re: That fun get a Japanese Driver's License game!
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2008, 09:08:02 PM »
This is what I have garnered from other people who have gone through the test for the Japanese License.

I'm one of those pesky people who only have to have an interview to get a Japanese license. I have no idea if our interview is the same or worse than your's. However, most people took an hour and the detail they go through is astounding. Personally, mine took 5 hours over two days but that is because of my circumstances. However, the interviewer I had was nice but very thorough. I think having a Japanese speaker is advisable in my opinion.

As for the test, I would take lessons. Your driving is probably fine but you need to learn the test course or be familiar with it. Also, the instructor will teach you the lingo they expect you to come up with during the test. The instructor will pick up if you have not had lessons. From what I believe for Japanese people, there is a conspiracy that means that they will keep failing you if you have not taken enough lessons for their coffers. The pass rate is kept artificially low for the school's own reasons. I would do the best you can to accommodate them and pass as easily as possible, i.e take a few lessons atleast and bring a Japanese person with you.

Angry Little Asian Girl

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Re: That fun get a Japanese Driver's License game!
« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2008, 09:48:53 AM »
I second and third all the advice given here so far. 

The interview test serves as a way for them to determine if you had proper preparation when you got your home driver's license.  They also want to make sure that you didn't bribe your way through the test, like some people* living in certain third-world countries do.  Unless your Japanese is close to fluency, then I would recommend you bringing a Japanese person to help translate for you. 

Questions you will be asked:
1.   When did you obtain your driver’s license (date)?
2.   Where did you obtain your driver’s license (city, state)?
3.   When did you take your written test?
4.   How long after did you take your practical driving test?
5.   Where did you learn how to drive?
6.   What was the name of the driving school?
7.   How long and how often did you practice for?
8.   What kind of car did you practice in?
9.   Did you pay anyone illegally to obtain your driver’s license?
10.   How many questions were in the written test?
11.   Did you take an eye exam for your driver’s test?

This is not to scare you but to give you an idea of what will be asked.  The interviewer was extremely patient and nice to me, so even if it took such a long time, I didn't mind the process.  I had to go in twice because I had to explain some stamp issues on my American passport.  That was just my case. 

Taking lessons:
I know some JETs who took the test without taking lessons and they passed on their first try.  I just have one thing to say about them: Damn lucky bastards! You can always wing it and hope you are one of those lucky gaijins that will pass the test on the first try.  The lessons help a lot and like Kevin says, it might be a way of bribing you into the system.  It's because the course that the traffic center uses is privately maintained by the traffic school that is located right next to it.  Wow, how convenient this is. 

If you want to, I can send you a guide for obtaining the Japanese driver's license.  Just pm me. 
 
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EuropeRick

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Re: That fun get a Japanese Driver's License game!
« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2008, 09:59:35 AM »
I'm going to have to go through the interview within a month or two so its a good heads up for me.
Lets hope it goes okay!  :-o

Kebin

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Re: That fun get a Japanese Driver's License game!
« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2008, 10:37:45 AM »
I second and third all the advice given here so far. 

The interview test serves as a way for them to determine if you had proper preparation when you got your home driver's license.  They also want to make sure that you didn't bribe your way through the test, like some people* living in certain third-world countries do.  Unless your Japanese is close to fluency, then I would recommend you bringing a Japanese person to help translate for you. 

Questions you will be asked:
1.   When did you obtain your driver’s license (date)?
2.   Where did you obtain your driver’s license (city, state)?
3.   When did you take your written test?
4.   How long after did you take your practical driving test?
5.   Where did you learn how to drive?
6.   What was the name of the driving school?
7.   How long and how often did you practice for?
8.   What kind of car did you practice in?
9.   Did you pay anyone illegally to obtain your driver’s license?
10.   How many questions were in the written test?
11.   Did you take an eye exam for your driver’s test?

This is not to scare you but to give you an idea of what will be asked.  The interviewer was extremely patient and nice to me, so even if it took such a long time, I didn't mind the process.  I had to go in twice because I had to explain some stamp issues on my American passport.  That was just my case. 

Taking lessons:
I know some JETs who took the test without taking lessons and they passed on their first try.  I just have one thing to say about them: Damn lucky bastards! You can always wing it and hope you are one of those lucky gaijins that will pass the test on the first try.  The lessons help a lot and like Kevin says, it might be a way of bribing you into the system.  It's because the course that the traffic center uses is privately maintained by the traffic school that is located right next to it.  Wow, how convenient this is. 

If you want to, I can send you a guide for obtaining the Japanese driver's license.  Just pm me. 
 

Additional questions I was asked:

Why did you go to Thailand?
What were the dates you were in Thailand?
For what reason did you go to Thailand?
When did you leave for Thailand and when did you come back from Thailand?
Did you do anything illegal in Thailand?
Why do you look different in your passport photo than you do on your gaijin card?
What was the purpose of your visit to Thailand?
Earlier you said you got back from Thailand March 31st but your passport says you got back the 30th. Why is this?
How much money did your driving school cost?
That's a lot of money, did that include any bribes that you paid them?
You went to Thailand, why did you go?

I seriously think they used the interview to double as an interrogation into illegal immigrancy and the like. They went through every singe page of my passport, and he would leave the room for long stretches after asking certain questions. I think I looked extra suspicious because I had to get a new passport while I was in Japan. My interview took 2 hours which caused me to miss my scheduled time for the driving test. They scheduled my next test for more than two months later. I was steaming mad because this caused my international permit to expire before my first attempt at the driving test.

Anyway, a note about the driving test: things happen fast. You pretty much have to do something specific each second you are on the course (signal, looking, breaking, often times multi-tasking). This makes it really easy to mess something up, especially under stress. That's why it's a good idea to take the driving lessons and learn the course before hand (in addition to the bribery aspect). There's even a really specific way that you're supposed to get in the car and start the engine. Best of luck to you!

Electric Barbarella

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Re: That fun get a Japanese Driver's License game!
« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2008, 10:46:33 AM »
Did anyone get their driver's license translated?  It seems kinda silly for Americans to get theirs translated because we have to take the whole test anyway.

Dr. Gibbons

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Re: That fun get a Japanese Driver's License game!
« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2008, 11:06:46 AM »
Maybe all the Thailand questions were because you can buy counterfeit permits and identification in Thailand. Granted, it looks like crap but rumours spread. Maybe they thought your intenational license might be a fake.

You can get a TESOL dipploma for $10 in Thailand - It's even spelled like that "TESOL Dipploma"
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shneen

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Re: That fun get a Japanese Driver's License game!
« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2008, 11:41:44 AM »
Thanks for the input everyone.... I may try to push the issue a little more with my scheduler and see if I can get someone to go with me... I think I'll probably be ok with understanding the questions, but responding in a way that makes me not look like a giant ass may be a different deal all together  :-P  The kids in the main office are making it sound like it's an in and out few simple questions kind of deal....  but everyone else seems to say otherwise.

Another random question.... smart idea to get a copy of my driving record from the DOT back home?  My license only has the date that I last renewed it... not the date that I was originally licensed (way back in the day).  I'd know approximations of dates, but nothing exact (and wouldn't have any way to prove that info anyway).

fred

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Re: That fun get a Japanese Driver's License game!
« Reply #9 on: February 01, 2008, 12:37:26 PM »
Yes yes yes. Get your original when it comes to renew your license otherwise it looks liek you haven't driven a lot. Also take your passport with you. There is a requirement to that you were "eligible" to drive in your home country for a certain period prior to you coming to Japan. I am sorry but I can't remember the figures. For arguments sake, lets say that you have to be in your country for 300days out of the last year prior to coming to japan to qualify for a license. They will check yor passport to see if you achieve this and then pass the requirement for the license. If you only qualify for the last year, then you will get a greeen license (beginer). If you meet all the qualifications for the last 3 or 5 years (i forget off the top of my head), then you can get a blue (non beginner license).

My interview took 5 hours cos I have two passports and travel on both and hence we had to cross refernce all my stamps. Luckily travel within the EU does not entail a stamp in the passport and I met the qualifications for the blue license. My actual travels would have menat that I did not qualify for some of those years.

This is why they examine every single stamp in your passport.
If I have time, I will try and dig out the exact dates and periods etc.

fred

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Re: That fun get a Japanese Driver's License game!
« Reply #10 on: February 01, 2008, 01:40:47 PM »
Also for those in their 4th year, you will have to renew your license just before your birthday this year. Its pretty simple and you have to sit through some boring videos. It'll cost you an afternoon (or morning) and set you back a few thousand yen (less than 5000 for sure) but you have to do it during the working week.

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Re: That fun get a Japanese Driver's License game!
« Reply #11 on: February 01, 2008, 01:46:10 PM »
Yea, when I had my interview they were really overzealous on details that didn't seem to matter to me, mostly dates.  I couldn't remember exactly how long I had my permit before I got my liscence, so I just wrote down an estimate, which they quized me on later, and when I answered a different month, we spend a good 30 minutes on that one f')$#$ing question alone....  I was actually doing math and drawing timelines to figure out the exact month and day I got my first lisence!  It's a pain in the ass.

As for the test itself, I'll tell you the mistakes I made so that you don't make the same ones.  
A.  I didn't do the "makikomi" check, which is looking over your left shoulder before you make a left turn.
B.  I didn't accelerate properly on the straight-a-way (I didn't know I was supposed to)
C.  I didn't get as far over to the left or right as I could when making turns (this is something we don't have in the states. During the test DO NOT MAKE WIDE TURNS, which sounds impossible, but it can be done.)
D.  My back wheel slipped off the track just a tad on one run,  they take off MASSIVE points for that. I would've passed on my 2nd run if not for that.
E.  I stopped at T intersections when I didn't have to. (yes they penalize you for that.)
F.  I slowed down too much at pedestrian crossings.  
G.  On my first try, I didn't follow the course, because I didn't have it memorized yet.
H.  I went too fast around the curve.
I.  I didn't park close enough to the curb or straight enough at the end.

I HIGHLY recommend the lessons.  You're really pressing your luck if you think you can pass in one try.  These bastards are uber-strict.

*On a more interesting note, one thing you CAN do is back your car up and try a turn again, if it looks like you're gonna fall off the side of the track.  On my third try I had to do this, and strangely, they didn't say anything about it, and I passed.  Therefore, in the S-curve or the Krunk, don't hesitate to backup and right yourself, if it looks like you're gonna fall off.

The most important thing is, DON'T GET MAD AT THE TESTERS.  I honestly believe that the less fuss you make when they inevitably fail you the first time, the more chance you have to pass later.  If you wine, complain, cry, etc..... they might take that as a sign that you're subject to road rage or something.  I have no deffinite proof of this, except that there's a trend that those who yell or cry after they fail take longer to pass...regardless of performance.

EuropeRick

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Re: That fun get a Japanese Driver's License game!
« Reply #12 on: February 08, 2008, 02:47:15 PM »
Well, it's official ppl, I'll be having my interview in mid March.
I know I need my Passport, Gaijin Card, and UK Driving Licence (both parts).

Do I need an official translation of my licence? (tough to get in a hurry).

I'm assuming that its worth while putting in some effort before hand and finding out exact dates of passport stamps, driving tests etc.
Also, the company won't provide a translator for a few hours. Apparently I won't need one. If I do, we're going to have a nice long interview via my mobile phone. They don't know this yet.  :evil:

fred

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Re: That fun get a Japanese Driver's License game!
« Reply #13 on: February 08, 2008, 02:58:29 PM »
Rich. You need the translation of your driving license. Go to the JAF office. It is next to Nitori on route 20 if you know it. Drop your documnets with them and they do the translation for the next day ( I think this is still true, as I did mine 3 years ago). Cost a few thousand yen. I would do this whenever you have the time, earlier the better.

You will pretty much need a translator for the interview unless your Japanese is at Sheena's level. You do't need the exact details of your tests, I made mine up as I have no idea when they were. As long as they can generate a record for you, you will be fine.

shneen

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Re: That fun get a Japanese Driver's License game!
« Reply #14 on: February 08, 2008, 03:09:07 PM »
Also, the company won't provide a translator for a few hours. Apparently I won't need one. If I do, we're going to have a nice long interview via my mobile phone. They don't know this yet.  :evil:

Yeah... the told Jyoti the same thing... which made her quite livid. I can see the logic in sending me by myself, as in theory, I should be able to handle it, but I've bribed a friend to go along with me just to be on the safe side.  But I'd find it all hilarious if we called in asking for on-the-spot translation. If they're not going to use the money to pay the ICs to do their job, they might as well give me a raise.

Jyoti said they had her translation done in a half hour... I think it's 3000 yen.... the form and other documents needed are on the JAF website (http://www.jaf.or.jp/e/index_e.htm)

EuropeRick

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Re: That fun get a Japanese Driver's License game!
« Reply #15 on: February 08, 2008, 03:10:10 PM »
Rich. You need the translation of your driving license. Go to the JAF office. It is next to Nitori on route 20 if you know it....
I'll try to find it somehow on www.diddlefinger.com . Thanks.  :-D

You will pretty much need a translator for the interview unless your Japanese is at Sheena's level.

I failed yon-kyu (40%), and the company has already told me I'm on my own in the interview (thanks Interac). If it gets really tough, I'm just going to have to phone them up and have them do it over my mobile.  :x

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Re: That fun get a Japanese Driver's License game!
« Reply #16 on: February 10, 2008, 10:19:52 AM »
Yeah honestly the whole thing is just a pain in the ass, but do everything everyone said so far, and you'll pass on the first try.  If I could do it, anyone can.
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EuropeRick

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Re: That fun get a Japanese Driver's License game!
« Reply #17 on: February 12, 2008, 03:41:23 PM »
I found JAF here, so hopefully I can get my licence translated this week. 3,000 yen.   :|

JAF Office, Kofu: http://diddlefinger.com/?ll=35.632729,138.571343&z=19&t=m
JAF Info & Forms: http://www.jaf.or.jp/e/index_e.htm

fred

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Re: That fun get a Japanese Driver's License game!
« Reply #18 on: February 12, 2008, 03:46:07 PM »
Thats the one rich. I would park in the Nitori car park and just walk to the office. I went in my 1st year and I got by with my Japanese then, so you should find it easier. Perhaps ask them if they can mail it to you.

ETA. When I went, I went 20 mins before they closed, maybe thats why I could only pick it up next day. Obviously if you go early like michelle, you can get it done in an hour. If home furniture stores are not your cup of tea, there is Kojima on the opposite side.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2008, 09:40:27 PM by fred »

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Re: That fun get a Japanese Driver's License game!
« Reply #19 on: February 12, 2008, 09:06:56 PM »
I went this afternoon and it was real easy.  They understand what you're there for.  He said come back in an hour (I was doing mine and Jacob's license).  I hung out in Nitori and they were finished when I got back.  I have a feeling it took a bit less than an hour.

They also give you a map to the testing center in Minami Alps.  According to NaviTime, it's 8.5km from my apartment taking 33min to drive there.  But my school which is 3.2km away takes 24min.   :?

Did you guys who took lessons before the test take them at the testing center or just at a driving school?  There's a driving school much closer to me than the testing center.

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Re: That fun get a Japanese Driver's License game!
« Reply #20 on: February 13, 2008, 09:37:23 AM »
you can take lessons anywhere, but i recommend the ones at the center you'll take the test at.  You might as well learn on the same course you'll have to test on right?    If it's Minami Alps you're going to, I think you can only take lessons on weekends.... also, it's a different building, the one to the left.

EuropeRick

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Re: That fun get a Japanese Driver's License game!
« Reply #21 on: February 13, 2008, 11:04:01 AM »
Thanks. I dropped off my papers last evening, getting them today (I hope).
Fortunately I just have to go through the interview so they can gather data for my record / check it's not illegal etc. None of the driving test bit.  :-* Still, fingers crossed.

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Re: That fun get a Japanese Driver's License game!
« Reply #22 on: February 13, 2008, 11:15:32 AM »
When the Shredder got his license -- so I can drive the technodrome --  found out you just gotta reach on over while cruisin and give the prompter a handjob. Insta-pass!
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Re: That fun get a Japanese Driver's License game!
« Reply #23 on: February 13, 2008, 01:37:51 PM »
When the Shredder got his license -- so I can drive the technodrome --  found out you just gotta reach on over while cruisin and give the prompter a handjob. Insta-pass!

So, Shredder, When did you start speaking in third person? You never did back in the day.


Also, what type of milage does that technodrome get? I've been thinking of buying one but I you know what those used drome dealers are like.  Also, what does the Shaken run you? Is it considered a white or a yellow plate?

Would you recomend Al's all Dimension-X used Technodrome dealership? Al struck me as a little slimey, (or at lest a little more than normal for his species I mean.)
Go Dumples!

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Re: That fun get a Japanese Driver's License game!
« Reply #24 on: February 13, 2008, 02:09:23 PM »
I thought Shredder got around on Foot.

≋✰ The More You Know

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Re: That fun get a Japanese Driver's License game!
« Reply #25 on: February 13, 2008, 02:26:29 PM »
Nah, he's outta shape and has to be carried by Krane.

<--- I just wanted an excuse to use this really...

EuropeRick

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Re: That fun get a Japanese Driver's License game!
« Reply #26 on: February 13, 2008, 04:00:52 PM »
I thought Shredder got around on Foot.


What a bad joke!

bom bom ... psh!


(I also just wanted an excuse. :-p )

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Re: That fun get a Japanese Driver's License game!
« Reply #27 on: February 26, 2008, 09:11:49 AM »
...
You will pretty much need a translator for the interview unless your Japanese is at Sheena's level. You do't need the exact details of your tests, I made mine up as I have no idea when they were. As long as they can generate a record for you, you will be fine.
Jyoti confirmed this recently. Interac sent her off insisting she didn't need a translator with her. After about an hour of them trying to communicate without success they gave up and told her to please come back with one when she visits again. After I relay this to Interac, perhaps they will agree to provide a translator for me for a few hours.  :wink:

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Re: That fun get a Japanese Driver's License game!
« Reply #28 on: February 26, 2008, 09:15:08 AM »
Its a bit fucking stupid on their part. They have how many employees? Surely someone knows the level required to pass this interview. Aaaaarrrrrgggghh

EuropeRick

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Re: That fun get a Japanese Driver's License game!
« Reply #29 on: February 26, 2008, 04:02:07 PM »
Well, its the Japanese way right?
Sure, it means days of extra work to re-scedule the interviews.
Yes, it means the ALTs will be unable to get to their schools for several weeks at least.
Of course, its the kind of thing that could be solved with a 5 minute phone call.
But, its the Japanese way right? .... Right?