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Thread: How to Kick the Japanese Driver's License Test in the Face on Your First Try

  1. #21
    Senior Member C-dub_PDX's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to Kick the Japanese Driver's License Test in the Face on Your First Try

    I was fortunate to have passed on the first try, and there is one big thing that helped.

    Go to a practice course and pay the 5,000 or so yen to spend a couple hours with an instructor practicing on the course. Then take that receipt/certificate with you when you go to get the license. I think the instructor was really relaxed because he knew I had taken the practice session.

    I know few if any who passed the first try without going to the practice session first. It's a must!
    "I'll be long gone before some smart person ever figures out what happened inside this Oval Office."
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  2. #22

    Default Re: How to Kick the Japanese Driver's License Test in the Face on Your First Try

    I passed on the first try, along with all three of the other islanders. Of course, we had to pass on our first tries, otherwise it would be a long time before we could get back to try again. We basically studied like crazy for it, and it really paid off.
    "The complex Japanese language and its writing system are inventions of the devil, designed to prevent the spread of Gospel."
    -Francis Xavier (1506-1552)

  3. #23
    Covered in ash. schultz's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to Kick the Japanese Driver's License Test in the Face on Your First Try

    Thanks many times over for putting this together Trivial, this is greatly appreciated.

    When you were going for the practical test, did they ask if you intended to try with AT or MT? I'm still not totally clear how this reflects on the license, eg. if you pass the AT test, can you only drive AT? I know that if I end up getting a car there, I'd prefer to buy/drive manual, so I'm willing to take that test...

  4. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by schultz View Post
    When you were going for the practical test, did they ask if you intended to try with AT or MT? I'm still not totally clear how this reflects on the license, eg. if you pass the AT test, can you only drive AT? I know that if I end up getting a car there, I'd prefer to buy/drive manual, so I'm willing to take that test...
    Yes, you will be required to select AT or MT. If you have an MT license, you can drive an AT, but not the other way around (I know it seems obvious, but in France it's backward!) If you take the MT test, you're never going to shift above second gear (except to get up to 45km/h).
    "The complex Japanese language and its writing system are inventions of the devil, designed to prevent the spread of Gospel."
    -Francis Xavier (1506-1552)

  5. #25
    Covered in ash. schultz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trivial View Post
    Yes, you will be required to select AT or MT. If you have an MT license, you can drive an AT, but not the other way around (I know it seems obvious, but in France it's backward!) If you take the MT test, you're never going to shift above second gear (except to get up to 45km/h).
    Thanks, I wasn't sure where that came up in the process. I have a license from the states, so it doesn't specify AT/MT, even though I did take my original test using MT.

    If I end up getting a car I'll be seeking out a manual (within reason), and starting the license process.

  6. #26
    The Quail Eye I Am Quailman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trivial View Post
    The CRANK

    Immediately after the S-CURVE is the dreaded CRANK, which is the hardest part of the test. The crank consists of two 90-degree turns that are just barely wide enough to accommodate your behemoth of a vehicle. There are also “poles” suspended around different parts of the crank in order to simulate walls. If you hit any of these poles, you will automatically fail the test. The key to making it through the crank is to wait until the very last possible second to start turning, and then cut the steering wheel in the direction of the turn. If you mess it up the first time and run up on a curb, don’t worry. As long as you didn’t go over it, you can back up and try again up to three times. Remember: WATCH YOUR MIRRORS!

    I almost failed because of this (passed on my 1st time though!). As Trivial stated, you are allowed to back up and try again if you go a bit too far or come close to hitting the little poles... When backing up, LOOK BEHIND YOUR VEHICLE! They guy scolded me after because he said "There could have been a child behind your car and you would have killed it" But I passed.

    I 150% recommend going to the local driving school and paying the 6000~8000yen for the practice time and one on one with a driving instructor who knows how to beat the test!
    With a belt on my head, underpants over my shorts, and my sidekick Quaildog... I AM QUAILMAN

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  7. #27
    Senior Member charmed_23's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to Kick the Japanese Driver's License Test in the Face on Your First Try

    Australians all let ussss rejoice for we are young and freeeeeeeeeeeee
    *cough*
    Sorry guys but I'm so glad I'm not American. This test sounds like a major pain in the arse. The JET's this year in my region have a 100% pass rate first time so far out of 3 or 4 who have taken it in the last couple of weeks.

  8. #28
    Member Jcubed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trivial View Post
    If you pass the 90 day test, they then subtract all the time that you’ve spent out of your home country during the issued period of your license from the time that you’ve spent out of the country (are you following this?) and if the total is less than one year, you get a license with a green stripe on it. What this means is that any car that you drive for the next two years has to have these ugly-ass newbie stickers on the front and back, and if you have any traffic violations, you’re likely to lose your license permanently. Keep in mind that the “start date” is from the issue date of that particular driver’s license — not how long you’ve been licensed to drive. At the time, I’d had my license for six years, but because I had lost my wallet and gotten a new license about 13 months earlier, and I had spent a little more than a month out of the country during that time, I ended up having driven for 359 days — six short of getting my regular license — and earned an extra two years of driving noobage.
    My current license was only issued 4 months before I came to Japan but I brought my driver record that says I've been driving since 2001 and I got a non beginner's license just fine.

    Also, I'll point out that knowing all these things about the test is a necessary but non sufficient measure for passing. I study all the guides before going and did the course perfectly but failed along with all other 7 foreigners that day (including the guy in front of me that also did the course perfectly. The proctor made up a total bs (lie) excuse to fail me. He had a nasty scowl on his face the whole time. When I passed it was different proctor who was all smiles, a totally different experience that just comes down to luck.

  9. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jcubed View Post
    My current license was only issued 4 months before I came to Japan but I brought my driver record that says I've been driving since 2001 and I got a non beginner's license just fine.

    Also, I'll point out that knowing all these things about the test is a necessary but non sufficient measure for passing. I study all the guides before going and did the course perfectly but failed along with all other 7 foreigners that day (including the guy in front of me that also did the course perfectly. The proctor made up a total bs (lie) excuse to fail me. He had a nasty scowl on his face the whole time. When I passed it was different proctor who was all smiles, a totally different experience that just comes down to luck.
    Can I ask what the lie was that he made up?

  10. #30
    Member Jcubed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trivial View Post
    Can I ask what the lie was that he made up?
    Sure. There was a blind turn and the correct thing to do was stop at the stop line, look all around, edge up, look around again and turn. He claimed that I didn't look around before edging up. It seems like something someone would reasonably forget, the thing is that even before the test I knew I had to be careful there and I remember looking around super obviously so he couldn't miss it.

    He failed the guy in front of of me for taking a couple left turns too wide. I watched the guy in front of me carefully and he did no such thing, it was something like his 5th time and he knew exactly what he was doing. My proctor asked what I did for work and I told him about JET and he seemed indifferent. However, he went on to say he thought all the Brazilians that tested with me were probably unemployed. He didn't say he didn't like them or he wanted them to go home but his tone made it clear. He was a bitter man.

  11. #31
    Member feckless's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to Kick the Japanese Driver's License Test in the Face on Your First Try

    That is scarily comprehensive and reminds me of a dark time in my life... which I guess means you did a good job, Trivial!

    I actually went through a Japanese driving school (300,000 yen of FUN!!), so if anyone wants any info on THAT bucket of worms, feel free to ask. I will say that it made passing the actual test a lot easier, though (I could blast through that crank with my eyes closed).

    I also have samples of English written test questions, but I hear the license conversion ones are less insane than the ones on my written test.

  12. #32
    Senior Member jonesinjapan's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to Kick the Japanese Driver's License Test in the Face on Your First Try

    Quick Question:
    I am going to mail the whole license translation thing to the JAF office but it is asking for a Proxy. Why the hell do I need a proxy to get my license translated.
    here is the application for the translation thing.

    Also I heard about forgieners in my prefecture failing numerous times because of the examiner telling them they do not drive like a Japanese person.

    But this year so far everyone I know that took the test passed the first time in Akita.

    Wish me luck!
    Superman once wrote on the wall: "Batman is a wimp."
    The next day Batman wrote: "Superman is Clark Kent."

  13. #33
    Member feckless's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jonesinjapan View Post
    Quick Question:
    I am going to mail the whole license translation thing to the JAF office but it is asking for a Proxy. Why the hell do I need a proxy to get my license translated.
    It doesn't say that the proxy section is necessary. I think it is only required if you have someone submit the document in person for you.

    If you want to make super sure, ask someone at your local JAF.

    Good luck.

  14. #34
    Senior Member Igor's Avatar
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    Ha, you too, feckless? I just took my permit written exam like an hour ago. And handed over a huge wad of 1man bills.

  15. #35
    Member feckless's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Igor View Post
    Ha, you too, feckless? I just took my permit written exam like an hour ago. And handed over a huge wad of 1man bills.
    Hope you fared well. Godspeed on the rest of your journey into the abyss.

  16. #36
    Senior Member Igor's Avatar
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    It was okay, though the course one is on Saturday, which should be fun. I just wish they'd stop trying to small-talk when I'm trying to frantically twist the wheel through the stupid S curve. Also, my god, the videos.

  17. #37

    Default Re: How to Kick the Japanese Driver's License Test in the Face on Your First Try

    I was informed by the wonderful people at the licensing center that I need some proof that I was living in the US between my last visit to Japan and my arrival for JET. My 1st passport was lost so I was issued a new one a few months before coming here. Since there is no record of my reentry to the states in 2006 (it was stamped in my lost passport) I'm now fucked as far as getting a license goes. Called the US embassy, and the Japanese immigration office, no dice on being able to look up my entry/departure dates. Fuck you Japanese bureaucracy.

  18. #38
    Member feckless's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jboze84 View Post
    I was informed by the wonderful people at the licensing center that I need some proof that I was living in the US between my last visit to Japan and my arrival for JET. My 1st passport was lost so I was issued a new one a few months before coming here. Since there is no record of my reentry to the states in 2006 (it was stamped in my lost passport) I'm now fucked as far as getting a license goes. Called the US embassy, and the Japanese immigration office, no dice on being able to look up my entry/departure dates. Fuck you Japanese bureaucracy.
    If your old passport is gone, isn't the proof that you were in Japan at that time ALSO gone? And doesn't that proof of US residency that you had to get for JET take care of things? Maybe provide some more proof that you paid taxes for the entire year before JET as well (if you did), since that requires at least half a year of residency in the US.

    A friend of mine in a similar situation also provided a proof of school enrollment in her home country and got an official document stating the date of issue of her original non-Japanese license. She was eventually able to get her license converted to a Japanese one... after a lot of frustration.

    But yeah, there is rampant can't-think-outside-of-the-handbook incompetency present in Japanese government offices, so I don't know if anything will work... my condolences.

  19. #39
    Member Schuldich's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to Kick the Japanese Driver's License Test in the Face on Your First Try

    Just a heads up. In Toyama the out course (part where you speed up) you go up to 50. On another note you CAN fail for going too slow on the other parts. I drove with the thought of perfecting everything and did...except the guy said I was too slow and failed me. The thought was if you go too slow you will cause an accident. The normal speed on other parts of the course was 30. You are expected to speed up to the normal speed after a turn and then slow down again just before a stop. I learned this the hard way.

    Nice guide btw.

  20. #40
    Tohoku wylin' D-Lux's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jcubed View Post
    My current license was only issued 4 months before I came to Japan but I brought my driver record that says I've been driving since 2001 and I got a non beginner's license just fine.
    Yes, if you request your driving record that proves you've been driving for more than a year, you can get an amendment on the back of your license exempting you from having to put noob arrows on your car. It's worth the extra money if you want to retain any shred of dignity after going through the license conversion process.

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