On Monday, I got up at 4.a.m. after finally falling asleep at around 11ish. I got all of my stuff together (my bag must have weighed about 7kg )
I left the house (had to run back for my phone) and got to the station just in time for the 5:25 train. Of course I got a seat, and sat studying my textbooks (for about the fourth or fifth time!). Just after Omiya, I realised that the train was totally packed! Then again, it was a Monday morning and rush hour, so I should have expected it. I changed at Ueno and caught the Keihin Tohoku line to Oimachi. I got to the ward office at 8:20a.m. I had to wait until they opened the counter at 8:30. The registration for the driving test centre morning test, ended at 9:05. I started to think if I could get my address changed quickly and get a taxi to the test centre, I might be able to take the morning test.
Hmmm.., after I changed my visa, I forgot to tell Maebashi City Office, so they had to change it at Shinagawa. So it took about 25 minutes at the Ward Office. I went for some breakfast and then, after having looked at the map and not being able to find the centre, I took a taxi. It was a good job because it took about 10 minutes to get there!
I was very impressed by how efficient everything was at the centre! The only problem for me was a lot of waiting time. I checked in at 10:30, then had to wait until 1p.m. to take the test. It was all very formal and scary. I’m so nervous before taking tests these days, but Japanese culture places great value on tests, so I had to just try and keep calm！
After the test, I tried to ask where I should go, and a woman told me to go to some counter. Because it said results at 4p.m., I went to the toilet and wandered around a bit. Suddenly, a policeman is calling my name down the corridor: “Aoyama san, Aoyama san!” and gesturing me to go to him, “you passed, do you understand Japanese (in Japanese)？” I told him a little, but he bustled me into the test room again, where another officer gave us a really long lecture, of which I could understand some points, but basically about road safety, best times to drive, renewing our license, etc.
After that, we all had to go and collect a ticket from a machine outside, then file into another room to get our photo taken. It was like a factory production line. Everyone was working really efficiently!
Then back to the lecture room where the officer explained what we should do next. I basically followed everyone else as I had no clue what was going on. When I finally got my license, I had to do something funky with it to activate the IC chip at some machine. At this point, I couldn’t really watch everyone else, because they were all hiding their pin number. I finally had to ask a police man to help me.
I got my license just before 4p.m. YAY!! Finally I can drive, I thought. But I’m sooooooooo nervous. The weight of the responsibility is very heavy on my shoulders. We were shown a lot of videos about accidents at the driving school, and I know it makes us safer drivers, but it doesn’t help the nerves!!