Japan Is Too First World for My Third World Driving Skills

Everybody teases me about my useless non-pro driver’s license. I haven’t driven our car since 2007. I can operate a manual vehicle, which means I shouldn’t have any problem driving an automatic, which what our vehicle is now, but I can’t. The large population of motorcycle riders on the streets startle me every time and I fear I might hit one since they tend to snake through the streets of the metropolis, not minding traffic rules. Also, our streets are dominated by hooligan drivers.

My license has expired and I haven’t bothered to renew it since I don’t see the point as I usually have someone driving me places. My best friend told me to renew it since we love to travel and we can just rent a car when we travel overseas; I can drive and she can direct me since she’s pretty awesome at map reading. The streets are much safer abroad too, especially in Japan where there is strict traffic rule implementation.

Japan is our spiritual home — we both do not just want to travel there, we actually want to live there! However, her fantasies of us cruising along the tulip-lined streets of Hokkaido can never be. I’m already struggling with a right-hand drive vehicle, so the difficulty will surely be greater with the left-hand drive cars for sale in Japan. I’m awful at adjusting to things which are not the norm — such as the escalators at our local mall. The one that’s supposed to go up should be on the right side, right? But the mall here has it on the left, and that confounds me every time.

In Japan, the road setup is opposite to what I’m used to, so I’d surely be in trouble if I try driving there since I’m such a creature of habit. Also, have you seen the high-tech parking spaces in the capital? They’re like straight out of a sci-fi movie; the multi-level parking underground works like a vending machine, and you get a key or something when you wish to retrieve it. It’s technology eons away from what my country has; it’s so advanced, that I’m greatly intimidated.

Also, when it comes to traffic rules, I’m afraid the third world knowledge I have will simply not be able to adapt. One of my biggest fears is to commit a road offense in a country whose language I don’t speak fluently. My best friend told me it would be super funny if that happens; she can picture me doing charades to explain my ignorance. I told her to shut her face.

I suppose we’ll just be joining a tour despite our fantasies of “Girls Gone Wild Abroad” (not really — we’re like the most conservative pair ever!). My bestie just needs to accept that I can’t drive in Japan, certainly not with my third world driving skills. If we both want to get back home alive from Japan, it’s best to never have me behind the wheel.

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