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

  1. #101

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

    Wait, I don't think that's right, I've got kanjikanjiATkanjikanji on mine and the lady specifically told me that I needed green stickers.

  2. #102
    ITIL's Favorite Beaner! Gusuke'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 passed today, on the 4th try

    In my experience, your best off having a young dude as the examiner; they're a lot less anal it seems.

  3. #103
    Senior Member Grimalkin'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'll join the 4 times and pass boat here. Was getting tired of them telling me I did one small mistake and then failing me. That and the 2 hour drive to the DMV. God damn does it feel good to have the license now.

    I know this has been said a million times but you pretty much HAVE to go to a practice course to at least get a feel for what you have to know. Its not that the driving rules are different, its just understanding what they look for.

  4. #104

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    Quote Originally Posted by jboze84 View Post
    Mine just has lots of kanji. No AT anywhere. Does AT stand for automatic transmission in this case?
    Yeah, if it says "AT" it means 'limited to automatic transmission'

    Here's part of my ex's license that says that AT business.
    http://img257.imageshack.us/img257/5...0609100012.jpg
    "In his heart of hearts, he knows that you're on your own at this level..of big nose monkey snooker"

  5. #105
    Apathetic Wench AnruiUkimi's Avatar
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    I think I don't have to get rookie stripes! Although my renewal was less than a year prior, they just asked if this was a renewal, I said yes (driving almost 10 years,) and they went "okay." I don't see any extra kanji besides the AT line on my license. Another of us had renewed only about a month and a half before coming to Japan, and he had no problems either.

    Kyoto notes:

    No appointments needed for anything. You can come back daily until you pass everything (weekdays.) Get there by 8:30am, know enough Japanese to hold a basic conversation involving the paperwork or you may get shit.

    Written test is the same as everywhere, easy, just watch for the Engrish and study the road signs.

    Nerves will get you on the "practical" more than anything else. The Kyoto test proctors are actually pretty decent, they will tell you what you did wrong, and will not flunk you on a tiny technicality (but you will still flunk on the obvious.)

    My experience:

    Day 1 (July 21th)

    -Got there early. Got shit because I said my Nihongo was only meh. They told me to come back with a translator. I had a 45min WTF FML session.

    -Other 3 ALTs from my area getting their licenses came unexpectedly, and 2 of them have much more proficent Japanese skillz than I. Crisis averted.

    -Office took forever with paperwork. Took written test around 2pm, told to come back tomorrow for driving test.

    Day 2 (July 22)

    -Got there, signed up for driving test. Foreigners go first for everything in Kyoto, so we tested around 9:15am. It was like an international party! We had Americans, Nepalese, several Chinese, a guy from the Dominican Republic, a Brazillian student, and an Indian guy. We all bonded in adversity.

    -Round one. Did alright until the intersection, where the light changed right as I was entering the intersection, and the proctor slammed on the brakes and failed me on the spot. Never got to the crank or the s-curve.

    -All four of us Tango-ites left around 11:15, where we hung out at Nagaokakyo Station and watched the eclipse.

    Day 3 (July 23)

    -Got there, rinserepeat.

    -Round two. Got to the crank, where I made the mistake of overly compensating during the turn. I was treating it like a much larger car (I used to drive an old Cadillac.) Failed, never got to the s-curve.

    HOWEVER. I got some interesting advice from the proctor that actually goes against several of the "passing guides" I have read.

    I was told that I was

    1. Going too slow(!) Yep, you CAN go too slow! I was averaging around 20km on most of the course on the first 2 tries, more around 25km on round three.

    2. Bearing too far left (!) They do not want you to ride in the gutter unless you are turning left.

    -One of the four of us passed, so I hung out with her until she was all done. We were out by 1:45pm.

    Day four (July 24)

    -Got there, paid ANOTHER 4050yen.

    -Round three! I went first this time. BTW, in my general nature, when I fail at something, I tend to do so spectacularly. So rounds one and two are consistant with me.

    Everything went great! The crank was easy (it was easy the first time, I was just being a moron,) the s-curve (first time, remember) was simple, and I finished up pretty cleanly! I was scolded on not looking both ways before opening the drivers side door, and basically was told that I was making too narrow right turns....but he passed me! I consider myself passing the first time because I passed the first time I drove the whole course. (Yeah, let me live my fantasy.)

    Two of the three of us passed that day, I wish my pal luck this monday.

    Paid more money, did an eye test, sat around for ages, got my license and was out by 1:45pm. I celebrated by going to Umeda, then Costco.

    Good times.

    For anyone else, good luck!
    Last edited by AnruiUkimi; July 25th, 2009 at 18:14.
    "...There was Kirk going, “Scotty, we need warp factor 9 in five seconds, or we’re toast!” And he goes, “I can give you 30 miles an hour in a week, Captain, how about that?” ~Eddie Izzard

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  6. #106
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ferdy View Post
    Thanks a lot for this. Did they let you pick your test date or at least specify which date would be best?
    They let me pick my test date. In fact, I took the interview on a Friday, and there was a cancellation so I went in on the Monday! In late June things were really busy around there. They showed me a book that had appointments in it and let me pick what worked for me.

    If you go the the DMV in Izumi, watch out, cause like I said its a bit hard to find the international office. It's behind that door I was talking about. There is a pair of leather couches next to the door, it is foward from the front doors and on your left when you walk in, shoved in a corner.

    The interview was all in Japanese, but when I went for the eye test the guy let me say left, right, up, and down! Also the road test guy was really kind to me and tried to speak in English, I was pleasantly surprised. On the second day, report to the same office before the time of your written test and they will let you take it. They will then have you wait around for awhile outside in the main area until they take you up to the waiting area for the road test. This overlooks the driving course. They will call your number and you will go down. Then they will take you on a drive through the course, telling you about it... then it's your turn. Good luck.

    I see some other people have said that it's important to go to a practice course. I didn't and I passed on the first try, but my tester was really nice. Other ALTs in Miyagi have passed on the first try or second try too... but I met a non-ALT on my test day who was on their 4th try!!
    Last edited by impulsejosh; July 25th, 2009 at 19:48. Reason: added some stuff

  7. #107
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    passed on the 6th try here in Kochi. Based on others taking the test with me, 6 times is probably about average. shit is tough. Felt so damn good to pass.

  8. #108
    OPPORTUNITYISNOWHERE mteacher80's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to Kick the Japanese Driver's License Test in the Face on Your First Try

    congrats, but man 6 as an average, that sucks if its far from home.
    ☆★REAL EYES REALIZE REAL LIES★☆

  9. #109

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

    I feel like a member of a prestigious club. What with having a manual license and passing it on my first try!

  10. #110
    Member Jcubed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trivial View Post
    Wait, I don't think that's right, I've got kanjikanjiATkanjikanji on mine and the lady specifically told me that I needed green stickers.
    On the back of my license, in the remarks section, I have a stamp that says I don't need a beginner's mark. I assume the date at the bottom in the front is when you first got that particular class of license, and normally if that date is within a year or whatever it is you would need the mark unless you have said stamp on the back.

  11. #111
    Senior Member frostkaiser's Avatar
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    Failed for the sixth time today, man this is really starting to wear on me. Everything about this country is great although this is without a doubt the worst most horrible thing Ive experienced so far. Could someone confirm the correct way in Japan to turn the steering wheel? Ive taken several hours of practice at the place across from the DMV but I never get a clear answer how your supposed to turn the wheel.

    EDIT: Ah nevermind, I found a website that says hand over hand is what they want as long as you dont grab from the bottom or do an underhand. Great guide by the way: http://www.supermelf.com/japan/ajetd...ook/chap5.html
    Last edited by frostkaiser; August 14th, 2009 at 21:45.
    "...it was like nothing I'd ever seen. I mean he didn't stand a chance. Against that kind of post count? Those kind of numbers command respect. They beat those with lower post counts into weeping submission. Fuck David and Goliath, watching it go down was honestly scary. It was like watching a 7 foot body builder walk into a maternity ward with a nuclear bomb strapped to his chest..."

  12. #112
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    Default Re: How to Kick the Japanese Driver's License Test in the Face on Your First Try

    Passed on my first try here in Miyagi. The eye test was a little confusing at first cause the guy just sat me in front of a light box with a bunch of C-shapes and started asking "ue, shita, migi, hidari?" I didn't understand how I was supposed to answer until he showed me that I had to say if the opening of the C-shape was pointing up, down, right or left.

    The written test was pretty straightforward, but I had to think about a few of the questions such as, "Should you shift to a higher gear when going through a railroad crossing?" Answer: No, don't shift in a RR crossing to avoid stalling the engine. I don't drive manual anyway.

    They gave me a map of the course and route for the gaimen kirikae test and then I had quite a while to wait in a room overlooking the course so I watched Japanese people taking the test and mentally ran through it. The biggest help was the proctor driving me through the course and explaining it. I guess Miyagi does this for all first-timers, but other prefectures don't? I tried to pay close attention to when he tapped the brakes, signaled, etc. and copy that when I drove the course. The road surface on the crank was raised so you failed if you dropped a tire in the gutter, not if you ran up on the curb. Incidentally, dropping a tire in the gutter on a narrow road is one of my worst fears about driving here since the gutters are uncovered and a foot deep.

  13. #113
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    This explanation is going to be a little long. Sorry.

    I've been driving for more than 20 years, and living in Japan for the past 9 years (I'm from NY). When I came to Japan they didn't have any requirement that you need to have a Japanese license if you reside here for more than 1 year, and I didn't hear about this law until about 2003 or 2004. In 2001, after I had been living in Japan for a year, I renewed my license on a trip to NY, but I threw away my old expired license a year or 2 later, not knowing that I would need it.

    You can guess the rest: My NYS drivers license does not give the original issue date, only the renewal date. So even though I had a license for years before I came to Japan, from their perspective I got my US license while living in Japan. I contacted the DMV in NY and they said that they cannot issue a drivers record with the original issue date. In fact, this is what it says on their website:

    "If the abstract of your driver record does not display the probation dates, the DMV cannot provide information about the date that your first driver license was issued."

    Well, I got my driving record from them, and it contains no information about my original issue date. It doesn't even include information about a car I owned in the '90s or an accident I was in or my many parking tickets. No info at all from before 2000. Nada.

    The only way I can see of avoiding going the full Japanese route (short of living for 3 months in Canada, which actually seems preferable), is to spend "3 months" in the US. I've been keeping track of all the days that I've spent in the US, and it may add up to 90 days now, depending on how one counts the days when I fly in and out of the country. But when I depart from the US they never stamp my passport and when I used to re-enter the States they often didn't too (before 9/11), or even if they did stamp it, that stamp has long since faded. (My passports have gone through the wash, etc.) My Japanese stamps have never faded, however.

    So here's my question: If I present my last 2 passports with all the dates that I was out of Japan clearly visible and most of the dates that I entered the US as well, and I supplement this with other proof that I traveled to the US on those trips, such as airline tickets, would they accept that as proof of having "lived" in the US for 90 days (it's 90 days, not 3 months, right?) since the time my license was (re-)issued?

    I'll be taking the test at Samezu.

  14. #114
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ferdy View Post
    Passed on my first try here in Miyagi. The eye test was a little confusing at first cause the guy just sat me in front of a light box with a bunch of C-shapes and started asking "ue, shita, migi, hidari?" I didn't understand how I was supposed to answer until he showed me that I had to say if the opening of the C-shape was pointing up, down, right or left.

    The written test was pretty straightforward, but I had to think about a few of the questions such as, "Should you shift to a higher gear when going through a railroad crossing?" Answer: No, don't shift in a RR crossing to avoid stalling the engine. I don't drive manual anyway.

    They gave me a map of the course and route for the gaimen kirikae test and then I had quite a while to wait in a room overlooking the course so I watched Japanese people taking the test and mentally ran through it. The biggest help was the proctor driving me through the course and explaining it. I guess Miyagi does this for all first-timers, but other prefectures don't? I tried to pay close attention to when he tapped the brakes, signaled, etc. and copy that when I drove the course. The road surface on the crank was raised so you failed if you dropped a tire in the gutter, not if you ran up on the curb. Incidentally, dropping a tire in the gutter on a narrow road is one of my worst fears about driving here since the gutters are uncovered and a foot deep.
    Congratulations! Yeah... to be honest I don't think Miyagi is that hard on ALTs. Random dirty foreigners are another story... but I've heard the majority of us passing on the first or second try. Honestly I think that one of the hardest things about the office in Izumi is that stupid international office being hidden back where no one can find it!!!

    I also fear the gaijin traps... especially ones on narrow mountain switchbacks... god people, cover up your sewers!

  15. #115
    Senior Member frostkaiser's Avatar
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    So I failed for the fucking seventh time yesterday, because I didn't "drive smoothly" enough and apparently stopped too far back behind a stop sign. I am trying to stay calm and assure myself that this hell will be over soon enough but the dark parts of my mind keep wondering if this will go on forever.

    Can anyone tell me what exactly is the Japanese way to stop at a stop sign.
    "...it was like nothing I'd ever seen. I mean he didn't stand a chance. Against that kind of post count? Those kind of numbers command respect. They beat those with lower post counts into weeping submission. Fuck David and Goliath, watching it go down was honestly scary. It was like watching a 7 foot body builder walk into a maternity ward with a nuclear bomb strapped to his chest..."

  16. #116
    Billy Big Bollocks Ini's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to Kick the Japanese Driver's License Test in the Face on Your First Try

    normally on top of a elementary school kid while clipping a cyclist with your wing mirror

  17. #117

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ini View Post
    normally on top of a elementary school kid while clipping a cyclist with your wing mirror
    ...all while drinking a chu-hai, smoking a mild seven, and sending an email on their keitai.

  18. #118

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    Quote Originally Posted by frostkaiser View Post
    Can anyone tell me what exactly is the Japanese way to stop at a stop sign.
    What Ini said, but with video:

    ::Link is broken::
    "In his heart of hearts, he knows that you're on your own at this level..of big nose monkey snooker"

  19. #119
    Code of Conduct Lego's Avatar
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    So I didn't have a car license at home and now I really want one. Anyone have an opinion on the 25-30man driving school route? It's expensive as hell, but it would get me driving and it would probably also secure a quick pass on the exam, especially since I can take it at the driving school. I don't know what other stories on this situation are, so if there are any "go for it, buddy" or "give up now, asshole" anecdotes, please share.

  20. #120

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lego View Post
    So I didn't have a car license at home and now I really want one. Anyone have an opinion on the 25-30man driving school route? It's expensive as hell, but it would get me driving and it would probably also secure a quick pass on the exam, especially since I can take it at the driving school. I don't know what other stories on this situation are, so if there are any "go for it, buddy" or "give up now, asshole" anecdotes, please share.
    I'm pretty sure those take a year to complete. If you're planning to be here long-term, then it might work out, but otherwise you might want to look into other options.
    "In his heart of hearts, he knows that you're on your own at this level..of big nose monkey snooker"

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