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Valkerion
October 9th, 2014, 05:09
So I am not in Japan obviously but I have a general quick question(s) about driving.

1) Whats a some what realistic chance of being asked to drive over there. I assume its high due to the amount of rural placements
2) Do they only allow cars/vehicles provided?
3) Is there any realistic way to ask/allude/beg for a place where you can bike between work locations?

I had another one but its completely out of my mind brain at the moment.

Anyway I ask because I do not have a standard license at the moment, I know how to drive a normal car but have been using a motorcycle for the last.... 7? ish years for long distances and a normal bike between home, campus, and work. Of course I plan to mark that I have a license for the application and if I get at least alternate I will go in and grab a standard license again. Just curious because information seems to be all over the place on some BoE's not letting JETs drive, others demanding it.

Not a huge issue just a random curiosity and personal preference thing.

miamicoordinator
October 9th, 2014, 06:02
So I am not in Japan obviously but I have a general quick question(s) about driving.

1) Whats a some what realistic chance of being asked to drive over there. I assume its high due to the amount of rural placements
2) Do they only allow cars/vehicles provided?
3) Is there any realistic way to ask/allude/beg for a place where you can bike between work locations?

I had another one but its completely out of my mind brain at the moment.

Anyway I ask because I do not have a standard license at the moment, I know how to drive a normal car but have been using a motorcycle for the last.... 7? ish years for long distances and a normal bike between home, campus, and work. Of course I plan to mark that I have a license for the application and if I get at least alternate I will go in and grab a standard license again. Just curious because information seems to be all over the place on some BoE's not letting JETs drive, others demanding it.

Not a huge issue just a random curiosity and personal preference thing.

1) There are a large number of placements that require JETs to drive. It always seems about 1/2 of my JETs seem to fall into the location where they have to use a car. I am really not sure what the official number of no driving vs. driving locations, but rural locations are generally the ones that drive, whereas city locations generally can get by biking and public transportation. Many city BoEs do not allow JETs to drive due to past accidents, or other precautions. Realistically, you should be prepared for a driving placement if you mark that you are willing to drive in Japan. I believe the application this year changed the wording to "Driver's Licnese -Y/N" Opposed to last years "Drive in Japan? Y/N".

2) This depends very much on your Contracting Organization. Most of the time, JETs will buy their predecessors cars. While COs often have official housing, I have personally never heard of a CO which has a prefecture car that JETs use. (If someone has been in this situation, please let me know!) All of the JETs I know how to worry about their insurance, shaken on their own. Sure, their PAs or JTEs might help them with the paperwork, but that was the extent of it. Many JETs have asked me about the posibility of using a scooter/motor bike instead of a car, and this varies on your CO as well. Since the license for motorbikes is different in Japan, and it is more "dangerous" than a car, I know of many COs which restrict their JETs from driving them.

3) The only way to really do this is to straight up say you don't want to drive in Japan, or mark that you don't have a license. Any other way is just a request and there is no guarantee of having it granted. This can be risky though because if you are short-listed, and for some reason CLAIR cannot find a placement which does not require driving, you are out of luck, and your placement will be given to someone who is willing to drive.

The information online is all over the place because of the ESID nature of the JET Program unfortunatelty. Most likely all the stories you have heard have been true, just from different prefectures.

-MC

Ini
October 9th, 2014, 07:34
Plenty of towns have cars that the ALTs use. It varies from "here's a car, have fun" to "bike to the BOE everyday, sign out the key, drive to school then at the end of the day drive back to the Boe, return the key and bike home"

miamicoordinator
October 9th, 2014, 07:42
Plenty of towns have cars that the ALTs use. It varies from "here's a car, have fun" to "bike to the BOE everyday, sign out the key, drive to school then at the end of the day drive back to the Boe, return the key and bike home"

Great to know!

Ini
October 9th, 2014, 08:02
but dont assume your placement will be like that. Its the exception rather than the rule. One of the first questions you should ask you CO/pred before departure is "do I need to drive? Is transport provided?". If you are going to need to buy a car its best to find out early so you can start saving up your shillings.

Valkerion
October 9th, 2014, 08:23
Thanks for the responses you two, pretty much what I assumed. Aside from the "buying" the car thing... ugh.

Maiami's response to 3 is pretty much what I was most curious about. Wanted to gauge how much not being willing to drive would affect chances. Guess its something to worry about if I get that far in the process. Been going back and forth wither to mark willing to drive/license this year.

word
October 9th, 2014, 08:42
In either case, it would be a very good idea to renew your license at least more than three months before you leave, even if you don't plan to drive in Japan. Better to have the option if you end up needing it in the future, no?

webstaa
October 9th, 2014, 11:06
In my prefecture, around 85% of ALTs drive. It's a day to day necessity for probably around 60% of them (for work.) For a normal lifestyle (aka, a lack of public transportation) it's closer to 70%. It's a luxury for the last 15%.

Personally, I don't need a car to get to either of my regular schools, but I do need it to go to the schools I visit once/twice a semester. Also to go to Aeon any time that isn't 5 in the morning or 2 in the afternoon. (Yay bus scheduling.) Most predecessors that have cars will sell them on to their successors. Some will try to be assholes, but most are reasonable. My successor will be getting a tiny, old POS of a car (drive-train is fine, but that's about it) for free, if I decide I want to pay shaken instead of just scrapping it.

Primarily, having a car costs my about 9man a year (averaged shaken, inspection and maintenance/fuel.) But for that, I can drive to school in shitty weather instead of walking, drive to the Aeon 20 minutes away, or drive to the city outskirts to take the train in whenever I want.

You get a year to get your Japanese license if you have get an IDP. There is a great thread about knocking the test out in one go stickied HERE (http://www.ithinkimlost.com/japan-jet-school-related/11107-how-kick-japanese-driver-s-license-test-face-your-first-try.html). It isn't that difficult, but a few have problems getting it, leading to horror stories of "It took me 6 tries to get my license/I failed the test 5 times..." I don't know about getting a motorcycle license transferred - you might have to do the whole nine yards of paperwork and testing (in Japanese.) Note that there are several different levels of licenses - AFAIK 4, based on engine size/power, each with different rules and regulations. Good luck!

coop52
October 10th, 2014, 20:53
I would suggest getting an IDP even if you don't have to drive for your placement just in case you decide you want a car once you get here. Even if you live close to your schools, there will be times that you'd want to drive.

therealwindycity
October 10th, 2014, 21:06
As I say every year: unless you're in the central part of a big city, driving here really isn't as scary as it sounds. It's worth it even if your job doesn't require you to.

Zolrak 22
October 14th, 2014, 05:48
This is gonna sound incredibly stupid to ask, but does renewing your (American) license invalidates its International Driving Permit?

I figure it does since it's technically a "new" license, but I guessed it wouldn't hurt to ask.

miamicoordinator
October 14th, 2014, 05:58
This is gonna sound incredibly stupid to ask, but does renewing your (American) license invalidates its International Driving Permit?

I figure it does since it's technically a "new" license, but I guessed it wouldn't hurt to ask.

Your answer can be found here: here.National Automobile Club (http://www.thenac.com/idp_faqs.htm)

riahh1026
October 26th, 2014, 19:12
If I indicated "No" for the Driver's License question of the application, will it count against my application even if I am willing to drive, but I just haven't officially gotten my license yet? Should I put a sticky note on the application to indicate that I am in the process of getting my license and am willing to drive?

miamicoordinator
October 26th, 2014, 23:07
If I indicated "No" for the Driver's License question of the application, will it count against my application even if I am willing to drive, but I just haven't officially gotten my license yet? Should I put a sticky note on the application to indicate that I am in the process of getting my license and am willing to drive?

If you are getting your license shortly, then just mark yes. The application does not require a copy of your license. You could go ahead and do the sticky note thing if you wanted, but if its a sure thing you are getting your license and are willing to drive, then just mark yes for simplicity.

BeckyJones
October 27th, 2014, 10:40
They get thousands of applications, skip the stickies and just put a yes, if you are in the process.

BeckyJones
October 27th, 2014, 10:43
Thanks for the responses you two, pretty much what I assumed. Aside from the "buying" the car thing... ugh.

Maiami's response to 3 is pretty much what I was most curious about. Wanted to gauge how much not being willing to drive would affect chances. Guess its something to worry about if I get that far in the process. Been going back and forth wither to mark willing to drive/license this year.

saying "no" I won't drive in Japan will limit you as a candidate. So why not mark the box yes? It doesn't mean you will get a driving post, but it opens yourself up.

Think of it like this, you are waiting for a table and put your name on the list. There are 3 options,
Counter. Trable. Whatever is available.
By saying "I can/will drive if i need to" you are basically marking "whatever is available" and will likely be seated before the picky people

riahh1026
October 27th, 2014, 12:29
If you are getting your license shortly, then just mark yes. The application does not require a copy of your license. You could go ahead and do the sticky note thing if you wanted, but if its a sure thing you are getting your license and are willing to drive, then just mark yes for simplicity.


saying "no" I won't drive in Japan will limit you as a candidate. So why not mark the box yes? It doesn't mean you will get a driving post, but it opens yourself up.

Think of it like this, you are waiting for a table and put your name on the list. There are 3 options,
Counter. Trable. Whatever is available.
By saying "I can/will drive if i need to" you are basically marking "whatever is available" and will likely be seated before the picky people

Thanks for the replies. Unfortunately, I was told during an info session that I would need to have my license for a longer period of time before departure than 3 months and so it didn't cross my mind to indicate yes on my application (I've already submitted the online application). So, I'll just have to do the stickies and hopefully clear things up in the interview. It won't be as simple, but hopefully things will work out.

Shincantsen
October 28th, 2014, 00:35
I don't think marking 'no' for driving will have any affect on your initial application - no additional points will be given or taken away. Where it will really matter is if you get selected as an Alternate. A BOE may request someone who can drive, and if you've marked no then you'll be passed over and they'll take the next person on the list.

miamicoordinator
October 28th, 2014, 00:47
I don't think marking 'no' for driving will have any affect on your initial application - no additional points will be given or taken away. Where it will really matter is if you get selected as an Alternate. A BOE may request someone who can drive, and if you've marked no then you'll be passed over and they'll take the next person on the list.

This is 100% correct. No points are added during the review process for licenses. A note is just put in your file that you are willing to drive (or not). If you are an original shortlisters there usually isnt a problem because there are enough spots for non-drivers to be placed. I had to pass over quite a few alternates this year because the upgrades required someone with a license.

weepinbell
October 28th, 2014, 03:21
So I marked 'no' on my application as far as driving, even though I do have a valid license (since it specified that if you are not willing to drive in Japan, put no).

As of now, I'm pretty firm about this. I absolutely do not want to risk having to purchase a car, but if it were a situation where I were to be placed in a rural/small area and there were cars provided, I might be willing - mostly if it were an alternate situation like you guys are saying, otherwise I would like to avoid it.

I'm not too worried as far as the initial screening, but if I were to get an interview, would this be something appropriate to bring up? Or do they usually ask about that sort of thing anyways?

Just curious... thanks!

Zolrak 22
October 28th, 2014, 03:31
As long as it doesn't break the flow of the interview, I don't see why not.

Edit:
It proves you are willing to adapt if given the right tools(leeway).

miamicoordinator
October 28th, 2014, 03:46
So I marked 'no' on my application as far as driving, even though I do have a valid license (since it specified that if you are not willing to drive in Japan, put no).

As of now, I'm pretty firm about this. I absolutely do not want to risk having to purchase a car, but if it were a situation where I were to be placed in a rural/small area and there were cars provided, I might be willing - mostly if it were an alternate situation like you guys are saying, otherwise I would like to avoid it.

I'm not too worried as far as the initial screening, but if I were to get an interview, would this be something appropriate to bring up? Or do they usually ask about that sort of thing anyways?

Just curious... thanks!

I cannot speak for the other locations in terms of interview practices, but I always touch on the topic of driving in Japan. If you marked no, I will ask why for my information. I won't dwell on it, because honestly, we only get about 20 minutes with each candidate anyway, and there are more important things to talk about.

I understand your worries and concerns about purchasing a car in Japan. You have already received a lot of feedback from people on the forum about it, however I just wanted to point something out. You mentioned that if it so happened to be that your Contracting Organization provided a car to you and it was not up to you to purcahse one that you might be ok with driving. There is absolutely no way to find this out until way after you accept placement.

If you are shortlisted, you will find out in April.
In May, you will get your placement information.
You usually start hearing from your pred or contracting organizations sometime in June (Some people get unlucky and never hear much from either of them). Only talking to your pred will you really know about the car situation.

Lets say you are an upgraded alternate. First you accept the upgrade, then a few weeks later you find out your placement and start hearing from your pred. You do not get placement specific information until much later on.

The main point i am trying to make is, there is no way you can hold off on accepting a placement until finding out about the driving situation. You either accept the placement blind, or not at all.

Best of luck!

weepinbell
October 28th, 2014, 04:59
I cannot speak for the other locations in terms of interview practices, but I always touch on the topic of driving in Japan. If you marked no, I will ask why for my information. I won't dwell on it, because honestly, we only get about 20 minutes with each candidate anyway, and there are more important things to talk about.

I understand your worries and concerns about purchasing a car in Japan. You have already received a lot of feedback from people on the forum about it, however I just wanted to point something out. You mentioned that if it so happened to be that your Contracting Organization provided a car to you and it was not up to you to purcahse one that you might be ok with driving. There is absolutely no way to find this out until way after you accept placement.

If you are shortlisted, you will find out in April.
In May, you will get your placement information.
You usually start hearing from your pred or contracting organizations sometime in June (Some people get unlucky and never hear much from either of them). Only talking to your pred will you really know about the car situation.

Lets say you are an upgraded alternate. First you accept the upgrade, then a few weeks later you find out your placement and start hearing from your pred. You do not get placement specific information until much later on.

The main point i am trying to make is, there is no way you can hold off on accepting a placement until finding out about the driving situation. You either accept the placement blind, or not at all.

Best of luck!

Ahh I see. Good to know. It's something to think about for sure. Right now I'm pretty firm about avoiding driving in general... I guess I have a awhile to sit on it, though. If I were to decide otherwise, I guess I could always find a way to bring it up in the potential interview, let them know I have my license, etc. If I'm still not feeling it and they were to ask, I'd just be straight up about the concerns I have.

From what you're saying it seems like there's a handful of positions available on both sides of the spectrum, so I'm not going to psyche myself out about it just yet! Thanks so much!

Anyone here who marked 'no' on this portion and still got into JET? It might be a nice piece of mind, haha!

Ini
October 28th, 2014, 08:13
plenty of people mark no and get in.

doesn't mean you wont get a placement that requires a car. I hope you are a strong cyclist and have a good rain coat.....

Jiggit
October 28th, 2014, 08:45
If you mark that you cannot drive you will probably not get a placement that requires you to drive to work. However your employer probably won't care that it's a 30 minute cycle to buy some milk and eggs. And even if you end up in a pretty convenient town you will probably still run into many occasions that make you wish you had a car. I have a couple supermarkets, an electronics store, home store and a fair few restaurants within 10 minutes cycle of my house and even I find myself wanting a car fairly regularly.

On the flipside there have been a lot of horror stories about placements that try to force their ALT out of driving to work and even out of owning a car or license at all. "An ALT once crashed their car and it was taihen so let's just not let ALTs have cars" is an acceptable line of reasoning in Japan.

SomePeopleJustSaySnow
October 28th, 2014, 09:41
Anyone here who marked 'no' on this portion and still got into JET? It might be a nice piece of mind, haha!

Yeah, I'm one - and Jiggit and Ini are both exactly right. My base school? One minute from my house. The majority of my visit schools? Within a train journey or an hour / two hours cycling. My furthest visit school? Somewhere between a four / five hour cycle with very infrequent trains that are not taken into account when my schedules for there are planned.

A car would make life easier, but I can live without - unless you&re very unlucky with your placement, there should always be something nearby.

weepinbell
October 28th, 2014, 13:15
Yeah, I'm one - and Jiggit and Ini are both exactly right. My base school? One minute from my house. The majority of my visit schools? Within a train journey or an hour / two hours cycling. My furthest visit school? Somewhere between a four / five hour cycle with very infrequent trains that are not taken into account when my schedules for there are planned.

A car would make life easier, but I can live without - unless you&re very unlucky with your placement, there should always be something nearby.

Awesome. Yeah, I totally understand what people are saying about it making things more convenient, so I'm definitely gonna stew over it for a bit, weigh pros/cons, etc., but for now I think I'm good with my decision. Even in the states, I just generally hate having a car. I'd much rather take public transportation/bike or hell even walk when I'm given the option, even if it takes longer. It's just a big enough stress for me here that I'm thinking I wouldn't want to burden myself with potential car payments, etc. right off the bat in a foreign country. Who knows, I could end up wanting one eventually, but I guess at least I'd have a valid US license in the mean time if the time ever came that I'd wanna go for an IDP.

Thanks for the input guys. It's super helpful, seriously.

greyjoy
October 28th, 2014, 13:43
Yeah, I'm one - and Jiggit and Ini are both exactly right. My base school? One minute from my house. The majority of my visit schools? Within a train journey or an hour / two hours cycling. My furthest visit school? Somewhere between a four / five hour cycle with very infrequent trains that are not taken into account when my schedules for there are planned.

A car would make life easier, but I can live without - unless you&re very unlucky with your placement, there should always be something nearby.

Jesus, I have the best fucking placement. In my prefecture, nobody has more than four schools, and they're all within a thirty minute cycle max. Mine and most others are all within ten.

But I still want a car sometimes.

Jiggit
October 28th, 2014, 14:04
Snow is in Hokkaido, which is kind of an outlier for spread out placements (and mistreating ALTs tbh). Most placements don't put you that far from your schools however you will often need/want to go to places that aren't your work and that's where having a car can make or break your Japan experience. Obv it depends on a whole lot of other factors too, but you'd be surprised how much the little inconveniences can add up.

SomePeopleJustSaySnow
October 28th, 2014, 14:25
For me, at least, the good outweighs the bad - some of the schools schedule me lessons specifically timed with the train arrivals and departures so I can leave in the morning / get home at a reasonable time. Going drinking with coworkers helps a lot with this - several times people have asked me how I'm doing, I've mentioned a very minor thing in passing amongst the general good and then that thing suspiciously changes for the better on monday morning.

word
October 28th, 2014, 15:28
Moved a few posts; let's keep this thread professional and on-topic, please!

greyjoy
October 28th, 2014, 15:39
I forgot we're in Aspiring. Sorry!

Tapatalk is annoying in lots of ways.

coop52
October 28th, 2014, 20:46
I spent all of my time as a JET without a car, mostly because I was scared and didn't want to go through the pain in the ass test, but now that I actually have my license and a car, I don't know why I didn't do it sooner. It's no where near as scary as I thought it'd be, especially since the speed limits here are so low. The only thing you have to worry about is driving at night in the middle of nowhere and looking out for confused old people. Getting a license isn't bad either. I followed Trivial's guide and did a couple of hour-long practice lessons at a local driving school and passed my test on the first try. And buying the car wasn't as bad as I thought it'd be either. It's so nice being able to go out and do things without having to look up bus routes and schedules or wait for the weather to be nice enough to bike.

weepinbell
October 28th, 2014, 22:39
You know, I think I already know the answer to this... but does JET reimburse commute expenses at all?

miamicoordinator
October 28th, 2014, 22:42
You know, I think I already know the answer to this... but does JET reimburse commute expenses at all?

Highly dependent on your Contracting Organization.

word
October 28th, 2014, 22:46
"JET" certainly does not. Your BoE may or may not, depending on your situation. For my JET experience, I commuted to a tiny inaka school twice a week and received a small travel allowance. This is not particularly common. ESID, unfortunately.

Edit: ^what miami said

Antonath
October 29th, 2014, 00:30
"JET" certainly does not. Your BoE may or may not, depending on your situation.
This is an important point and should probably be in a sticky post somewhere in Applying: JET / CLAIR / the embassies are responsible for recruiting, getting you into Japan, and your initial training in Tokyo. After that, you are employed by prefectures, cities, villages, etc. CLAIR gets annoyed with people saying ESID (every situation is different), but it's true, and the multitude of contracting organisations you are actually employed by is why.

weepinbell
October 29th, 2014, 01:58
This is an important point and should probably be in a sticky post somewhere in Applying: JET / CLAIR / the embassies are responsible for recruiting, getting you into Japan, and your initial training in Tokyo. After that, you are employed by prefectures, cities, villages, etc. CLAIR gets annoyed with people saying ESID (every situation is different), but it's true, and the multitude of contracting organisations you are actually employed by is why.

Perfect. Thought it might be an ESID thing haha. Thanks everyone.

blackxpetals
October 29th, 2014, 17:53
Might be a stupid question, but is it possible to get an IDP from Australia, or is that just an American thing?....

word
October 29th, 2014, 18:30
Nah you can get one easily:

International Drivers Licence & Permit | NRMA Travel (http://www.mynrma.com.au/travel/international-driving-permit.htm)

mrcharisma
October 30th, 2014, 00:51
My car was as precious to me as my wanking arm on JET. Weekends could be spent bombing through the mountain roads to Kyoto or down the motorway to Nagoya. Had I been marooned in my prefecture I'd have been stuck playing ultimate frisbee with the local ALT goon platoon, followed by bickering over the bill in some cheap dump of a ramen joint.

There were several cross-country trips on top of that, not to mention the general convenience of getting around my own legality. A willingness to drive will more often than not make your life exponentially better on JET, no two ways about it.

Jiggit
October 30th, 2014, 08:51
playing ultimate frisbee with the local ALT goon platoon, followed by bickering over the bill in some cheap dump of a ramen joint.


Trigger warning, please.

blackxpetals
October 30th, 2014, 13:53
Nah you can get one easily:

International Drivers Licence & Permit | NRMA Travel (http://www.mynrma.com.au/travel/international-driving-permit.htm)

Awesome! Thanks for that.

borilocks
October 31st, 2014, 12:25
If you are coming from Canada, Australia, New Zealand or the UK and already have a drivers license from back home, getting a Japanese license is super easy. All I had to do was fill out a couple forms, stand on one foot, show them I could move my arms properly, and prove I wasn't colour blind. I did make a mistake by saying that you drive when the light turns みどり at which point they all looked at me like I was insane until I stammered, "あの...あお?" It cost about 4,000 yen or so. I did have to give up my Canadian license though, so if you are only planning on staying a year just go for the IDL.

People from other countries don't have it quite so easy. You need to take the Japanese driving test, which even if you ace on the first try, is time consuming and pricey.