First of all we documented a typical Pizza delivery store, with typical delivery cycles. These are all over.
When you are in the huge building to take either your written or practical driver's test, you spend most of your time (often many hours) waiting in this area, which looks out over the driving range.
Here is the driving test course. The 'S' curve in foreground is not for cars, just motorcycles, although I would not be surprised to find real roads this narrow. The actual 'S' curve part of the test is mostly obscured behind the top of the safety rail just outside the observation balcony area. The large cement barriers in the middle are designed to simulate the frequent blink corners you find in Japan. They were very realistic, you have to come to a full stop, the slowly creep up looking both right and left until you are sure no cars are coming. It is a pain, and scary. The stop just beyond the 11 sign if the infamous stop sign, with the white stop line. If you even tough this line by a inch with wheels you have immediate disqualification and your test is over for the day.
This view shows the one signal light controlled intersection. They make a very big point that as soon as you put your signal light on for a turn that you must immediately move close to the side of the road (lane) in the direction you are going to turn. The idea is to block any motorcycles or bicycles that are riding by you, so they won't try to pass you mid turn and have you run them over. They really emphasis this, so we suspect that must be major source of accidents in Japan.
The first day it was very cold and there was snow accumulation in the hills. This photo is a little blurry, but the white patches are snow.
Another shot of the snow.
Here I come after finishing the course.
Now I'm in the final approach.
After this was all done me and the other person that took the test in the same care as me were set down and lectured on the items talked about above. I felt we had both failed and he was lecturing us on what we had done wrong. I have a hard time following a native Japanese speaker, but the diagrams he drew were very graphic. We were both so relieved and when he said we both passed, in English.
There are a lot of fees when you get a driver's license, every day you come to do any testing there is a fee, then there is a fee to actually take the test (written or practical) then there is a fee to rent the car you will be using and them when you earn the license there is a fee to get the license. The original application required a photo, for which they had booth, for a fee of course. It ends up being quite expensive.
In any case the final license is either beginner or not. Since we had driven before in the US, we are not beginners and have a special stamp on the back of the license, which you show to a police officer to prove your not. Here is a page out of the driver's rules manual showing what the various magnetic signs are from beginner to aged (70 or older).
At church today we noticed a car with the beginner sign.
All in all the method of getting a driver's license in Japan is very religious, they put the fear of 'Failure' in you so you will drive righteously And I will, I promise.
Next week is transfer week, which is very busy and the new couple to replace us as Secretary and Financial Secretary is coming in tonight. They were to come in Saturday evening, but a very unusual accumulation of 30 cm of snow at Tokyo Narita airport prevented them from flying in.