On Saturday I went to Futakotamagawa for my final driving lessons. Before we take the final driving lesson, we have to pass the driving school’s pre-written test. I failed it last week, so this week, I studied really hard I took the test when I first got to the school. At first, the questions were easy, such as “I felt very tired, so I didn’t drive.” etc., but then others were more tricky, e.g. “Once you have entered a tunnel you need not slow down” The answer was FALSE. Apparently, they mean, you can slow down in certain situations. I think this is a translation error. Need not = don’t have to, right? But “need to not” = shouldn’t. I think they meant shouldn’t..grr…
After taking the test, I had another sinking feeling of not doing well..When the instructor marked the test, I had got 8 questions wrong. EIGHT questions It was getting worse! I was almost in tears wondering when this would ever end!
Fully expecting the whole driving school process to drag on and on and on, I asked the instructor what I should do now, and she said, “oh, it’s ok. You can take your final lesson. We don’t mind about the test.” What I was relieved, but also a bit annoyed that they had tricked me!
Anyway, I got home just before 9p.m., to find my Yusuke and baby still awake and playing on the futon. Hannah was at the stage of so tired that she was crazily hyper I had to be at the driving school for the driving test at 9:40 this morning, so I went to bed at about 10p.m. Hannah was still awake, and crying. She eventually fell asleep sitting up staring at the Tomy dream lights… The last time I remember, was midnight..I had to get up at 4:30a.m.
I didn’t sleep well at all, dragged myself out of bed and swigged an energy drink at the station (avoiding Lipovitan D, which apparently shows alcohol in a blood alcohol test!), and took the train. All the way there was a mother sitting opposite me with a 3 year old girl who constantly kicked me all the way to Shibuya for two hours (no sleep for me then). It was a good chance to memorise my routes for the test.
I was SOOOO nervous. The test was explained (in extreme detail, as ever)and our routes were chosen. My route was the longest one of the three and the one I had been fearing. However, luckily I was happy in a way, because my route didn’t involve Route 246, which is a really busy three lane road with a max. speed limit of 50km/h. There were two other girls taking the test in the car with me. Of course, I was last..I wanted to get it over and done with.
The first girl was SOOO nervous. She didn’t start the car for about a minute. I thought she was going to faint. Finally we set off. I was surprised that her driving was a little bad I was sitting in the back sweating over when it would be my turn, because the roads were looking quite busy and full of illegally parked cars/trucks, etc.
The next girl got in the car and also took quite a while to compose herself before starting. As soon as she started, I thought, “OH my god, I’m glad I’m wearing a seatbelt!” She crossed the pedestrian crossing while there was someone waiting to cross it, which is a fail apparently. Next, she slowed down and stopped at a signalled intersection with a green light to let pedestrians cross (when their light was red), almost missed her right turn and went so wide I thought we were all goners, slammed on the brakes before parking because she’d forgotten to alter the mirrors. Hello whiplash..She didn’t seem to think she was doing so badly, but I thought, if he lets her pass, all is not well with the world.
After THAT, I felt much more confident. I tried to relax behind the wheel, not stress out too much. The worst thing were the parked cars, near the crossings, lights, and then suddenly, as I approached a traffic light with two vehicle lanes, a lamborghini stopped across the two lanes It had broken down. I said, “oh!” and the examiner said, “oh!” I had no idea what to do!! The guy pushed the car over to the left and signalled to me to go ahead. The examiner said that he wouldn’t take any minus points off for that. For me, these kinds of things were the hardest parts of the test. My route was quite long, with the most right turns at signals without arrow lights, so I was a bit nervous about getting the timing right, but tried not to think too hard about it being difficult. After stopping at the end point, the instructor drove us back to the school. He must have been really frustrated with slow and careful driving, and said, “ok, I’ll do some rough driving” Hmmm…rough, squeezing past cars etc. but felt quite safe. Big show off.
Back at the driving school, and we had to do parallel parking. The first girl messed it all up. I felt so sorry for her. She had two attempts, and both times she turned the wheel to the right instead of the left. Luckily, the examiner was the man who’d taught me how to do the parallel park. We had devised a way to remember, “Symbol of London, Scotland and Russia” (Straight, Left, Straight, Right). No meaning to the sentence really, but helped me to remember it. The second girl (the scary one) was surprisingly brilliant at the parking The instructor said that driving around the driving school course to get to the parking space didn’t count towards the test. Which is lucky, because I drove over the kerb on the way to the space Anyway, the parking went well, and after that, we all had to wait in the waiting room.
The first girl came out with her head hanging down..and left, obviously failed. I was a bit nervous here because she had been bad, but not awful.
The second girl rushed out of the room, and left. Thank goodness..I saw her later out on the course having another driving lesson again!!
Finally, I got my result
Finally! Now all I have to do is take the final written test..I have been able to get one of my friends in Tokyo to lend me their address so I can take the test in Tokyo instead of Saitama. The test in Saitama is very bad English apparently, and they are a bit mean to the foreigners. So, I have to go all the way to Tokyo (with Hannah this time!), change my address, and then go again on a weekday and take the test!!