Thursday, 15 March 2012

Driving in Japan

I have mentioned previously that I believe Japanese drivers are very good drivers. Maybe a problem with this is that they know they are good drivers.
Usually when I see children in the car they are bouncing around the back seat or in one case hanging their head out of the window. Car seats for kids? Adults in the front seat tend to wear seat belts, but reluctantly I suspect just to quiet the audible warnings.
Pedestrians, caution! Drivers do not slow down one iota and after they pass, I usually feel as though I should clean the dust off of my elbow or shoulder that brushed against the car or large truck. You can be walking along a country road with an area on the side spacious enough for a pedestrian and his dog and then the road narrows as a hill encroaches on one side and a barrier appears to prevent vehicles driving down a steep embankment on the other side. So where does that leave me? In Japan you are either on the right road or not, you cannot just turn left or right and find another road/street. So I keep going with my very well behaved dog "Muku". But I have this urge to swear at the big trucks only centimetres away from me. By the way I was quite lost on that walk and of course Muku would rather go anywhere else than home. Japanese streets are designed, sorry there is no design and nothing logical about them, other than the accursed automobile has created a need for a road to every domicile.
Invariably when we have car rides, I watch the speed limit signs which may read 50km/hr and I watch the speedometer which reads all to frequently 80. Police, yes I have seen them once or twice with a stopped car, but I suspect the driver must have done something such as attempt to knock the police car off of the road. Usually there is a "Koban" or small police station next to railway stations as well as other locations. They can be very helpful, providing directions or information.
Then there is the story and abbreviated video on TV a couple of nights ago of a Japanese gynaecologist and his Ferrari with a video camera mounted on his dashboard facing forwards, driving as though playing a video game. He apparently posted this on YouTube. Some of the people who viewed this reported the video to the police and the gynaecologist has been charged.

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