Thursday, October 18, 2007

Kei-car, what's that again?


I actually know what a kei-car is but I thought it would make a catchy title, so I used it. Today during my final prep period of the day I got a fax and phone call from my company. I was told my leased car will be delivered Friday night and that I should be home if I want every thing to go smoothly (ie get the car on time). I was ecstatic after hearing this good news which came just in time right after I started getting bitchy and whiny about not being able to do anything on the weekends. Well, now I can!
Thank you God, may you continue to bless me when I drive the darn thing in the evil, poorly designed, roads of Japan. Rather on the contrary, I am more afraid of Japanese drivers than I am of the quality of roads in Japan. Japanese drivers, especially Yamanashi-folk are well known within Japan as ranking high on the worst drivers list. I thought California was bad on a rainy day, man Minami-alps takes the cake and makes my toes curl in my socks every time I take shot-gun in a car. I can't remember witnessing such a blatant disregard for safety and fundamental traffic law. I prayed every night when I drove my big-assed FedEx delivery truck in San Diego, and I plan to shave my head and become a friggn' Padre to survive in Japan.

If you one of the unfortunate law biding citizens who prefer to follow the overly strict traffic law system in Japan you'll probably go loony and lock yourself up in a closet or something after some jack-ass sideswipes your car or blinds you with high beams from tailgating you for 20 kilometers on a two lane country road. A large majority of people here, Minami-alps, tailgate like their car is tied to the car ahead of theirs with a three foot rope, and I'm not joking at all about this. Furthermore to complicate things beyond any sane person's imagination, these numskulls will park on the side of the street to go take a leak or buy a pack of cigs just because that's how its done in Japan even though there aren't any public parking places on public roads (even if there were there isn't any shoulder to do it in which makes it even harder for the lowly pedestrian to survive around here!) So when I am on my bike I end up risking my own life swerving into traffic to avoid these Darwinian rejects. Its tough business and I wish I didn't really need the car after all but it is a necessary evil I suppose. I just hope that I have protection from what others around me do, I'm not too worried about my own driving skill. I see it this way, if I could drive a FedEx truck and parallel park the sucker and back it into and drive through tight spaces daily for a year, I can drive fairly competently... maybe.

Onto topic two for the night, which feels like just another topping on the good ol' rant cake this evening. I like my Japanese to be corrected when I make mistakes but I don't like how one particular person does it... Her name starts with an "M" and she is wearing my nerves thin. Most people who are friendly and care will politely get the attention of their friend who made the mistake and let them know how to correct it instead of interrupting abruptly and shoving it in their face as if they are shoving a dog's face into it's own doo to not crap in the house. Not cool I say, not cool at all. I have helped many Japanese people, friends and acquaintances with English and never once have I ever told them they just flat out suck, which is the impression I get every time I get corrected by her. I am in no way professing that my Japanese is worthy of any praise but its not that bad and I didn't join a language boot camp, so I would appreciate a little slack....

Of course I can't say that to her face lest I get called an absolute direct American pig that knows nothing about how to conduct yourself in Japan (which I do have for the most part thanks to my good college Japanese profs and study abroad life). I am glad we've backed off from each other lately and haven't met that much as of late. I think its just time to see each other less so we don't end up saying something stupid (me) and making things harder to bear living in this city. News would travel quite fast in this small town and I really don't want that to happen either... I like my life and school here and I'd really like it if I keep my job here for a couple years more.

So that's my 10 percent good news and 90 percent bitch session. Kei-cars are great, I just hope I don't freak out and decide to get rid of it because I can't be aggressive enough as a driver to hold my own in this crazy town.

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