today marks the day i finally put my international drivers permit to use and ventured out in a mini car on the left side of the road. hopefully all that practice hugging the left on my bike will make careening around in a car a little easier. it wasn't as weird as i expected: it's like driving while looking in a mirror, and, like, how weird is that? uhhh. yeah...it was a little weird. however, my passengers gave the ride positive reviews, so maybe it won't be so intimidating from here on out. i want to drive next year! as charming and romantic as it's been to bike to the grocery store every other day through the winter months, i long for the day when i can buy anything without worrying about how i'm going to get it home. the part that feels the strangest is not driving on the left (i toyed around with that some at home), but sitting on the right! and, thank God, the foot pedals are in the same order, but the blinker and windshield wipers are opposite. i can forsee some occassions where i'll be wiping vigorously when i go to turn.
seriously, though. getting one's japanese drivers license is a big frickin deal. you think you have to jump through hoops in the u.s.? here you essentially register (wait one month), take a written test (wait one month), take the driving test (make one mistake and you must wait another month to retake it), and if fate smiles upon you, in three short months you may have earned your license. did i mention: the closest place where i can do all of these things is three hours away? however, once i've achieved this, i think it will be a milestone in my life. a card-carrying driver in another country. how coolish is that!?