Getting A Driver's License in Japan (II)

Hey, it’s me again. If you still remember my story about the struggle of getting a Japanese license, this is a follow-up. Last week, I went to Samezu License center for a skill confirmation exam for the second time. Guess what? I passed! Now I can legitimately drive in Japan!

This time, I scheduled the appointment for my exam to be in the morning, so that I didn’t have to waste a whole day there.  I haven’t woken up so early for almost a year, yet, I was able to get up at 6:00 in the morning when the sky was still dark. When I arrived at the station, I was actually surprised that the train station was already so crowded. I was still so sleepy that I took a nap on my way to the license center.

Because I had already experienced the process the first time, I was quite familiar with what we were supposed to do before and after the exam. We were all divided into three groups, and we each had to go to the track one by one after seeing our number dispalyed on the screen. Those who passed the exam, still had to wait until everyoned finished their exam. Then the process of making the license would begin. Last time I took the test, I was the ninth member of my group, which meant I had to wait a long time for my turn. Sometimes you can see people come back very quickly - and that probably means they failed and couldn’t finish the whole course. To be honest, sometimes I wished that would be the case so it would become my turn quickly and I could get the exam over with myself. But on the other hand, it’s also scary too see people coming out like they failed, since it may indicate that perhaps the examiner is strict or is in a bad mood. It is also true that since the exam is judged by individual examiners, we are judged based on a criteria that comes with the exaiminer and not only the shown on the paper. This was clearly the case on my exam that day. For the first group, only 2 out of 12 people passed that exam. Thankfully, my group had better luck. 

I passed the exam, and the long waiting time came. I finished my test rounds around 9:30 in the morning, and everyone in the room finished around 11:30. Then, the staff came in said, “today we have  many people who passed the exam, so you probably won’t get your license till 2 o’clock”. After waiting in lines to submit my documents, taking a profile photo and having a quick lunch, it seemed my license would be ready for me to pick up. But while waiting for my number to be called, I saw many people who were reissuing or renewing their license at a fast pace, while the session for newly issued licenses was not processing at all.

Another excrutiating hour later, I finally got my license. I believe I had overall spent more than 24 hours in the driving center for all of the processes. I am wondering why the center is not able to simply mail us the license in the way the cityy hall does with the health insurance card for example. But all I can say now, is that I am glad I don’t need to go there anymore. And if you're planning to get your license in Japan anytime soon - good luck! Can’t wait to have a road trip after the pandemic!