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Thread: JETs Driving In Japan Questions

  1. #1

    Default JETs Driving In Japan Questions

    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.

  2. #2
    Official JET Staff miamicoordinator's Avatar
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    Default Re: JETs Driving In Japan Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Valkerion View Post
    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

  3. #3
    Billy Big Bollocks Ini's Avatar
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    Default Re: JETs Driving In Japan Questions

    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 men of action never mind on occasion being ridiculous; in a sense it is part of their job.

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    Default Re: JETs Driving In Japan Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Ini View Post
    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!

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    Billy Big Bollocks Ini's Avatar
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    Default Re: JETs Driving In Japan Questions

    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.
    Great men of action never mind on occasion being ridiculous; in a sense it is part of their job.

  6. #6

    Default Re: JETs Driving In Japan Questions

    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.

  7. #7
    Feckless Manchild Otaku word's Avatar
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    Default Re: JETs Driving In Japan Questions

    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?
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  8. #8

    Default Re: JETs Driving In Japan Questions

    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. 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!

  9. #9
    chill yo coop52's Avatar
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    Default Re: JETs Driving In Japan Questions

    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.

  10. #10
    Comrade therealwindycity's Avatar
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    Default Re: JETs Driving In Japan Questions

    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.

  11. #11
    The Sun's Bird God..what? Zolrak 22's Avatar
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    Default Re: JETs Driving In Japan Questions

    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.

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    Default Re: JETs Driving In Japan Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Zolrak 22 View Post
    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

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    Default Re: JETs Driving In Japan Questions

    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?

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    Default Re: JETs Driving In Japan Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by riahh1026 View Post
    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.

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    Pimpin wenches aint easy BeckyJones's Avatar
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    Default Re: JETs Driving In Japan Questions

    They get thousands of applications, skip the stickies and just put a yes, if you are in the process.
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    Pimpin wenches aint easy BeckyJones's Avatar
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    Default Re: JETs Driving In Japan Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Valkerion View Post
    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
    Quote Originally Posted by johnny View Post
    His dying breath will not be how sorry he is to leave his wife or children, but it will be saved to insult Jiggit.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ini View Post
    Hello song, what do you like sports? and fruit basket. The holy trinity of English education.

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    Default Re: JETs Driving In Japan Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by miamicoordinator View Post
    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.
    Quote Originally Posted by BeckyJones;
    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.

  18. #18

    Default Re: JETs Driving In Japan Questions

    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.
    Quote Originally Posted by Libellule View Post
    I really hope Japan doesn't turn me into this.

  19. #19
    Official JET Staff miamicoordinator's Avatar
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    Default Re: JETs Driving In Japan Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Shincantsen View Post
    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.
    Anything I say here is my personal opinion. Always consult with your coordinator if you have any doubts, especially if you are applying from a country that is not the United States.

  20. #20

    Default Re: JETs Driving In Japan Questions

    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!

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