Sunday, 18 January 2015
The Man with the Golden Licence
Our Man figured out how to renew his Japanese driving licence at the Nageriyama Driving Centre this morning so you don't have to.
1. Go to Window 1. Say: Menkyo no koshin, onegaishimasu. "Licence renewal, pretty please."
2. They photocopy your old licence. You sign the photocopy, put your phone number on it and write two secret four-digit PINs in the top top right box in numbers legible from 10 feet.
3. Pay ¥3,100 at window 2. Stick the revenue stamps in the top right corner of the photocopy with damp sponge provided for your sticking pleasure.
4. Go to Window 8. Then when it transpires you didn't fill out or sign the back of the photocopy, go to Window 14, where a man shows you how to tick the "no" boxes to declare that you have caused no accidents to your knowledge.
5. Behind Window 14 perform sight test. Look at little horse shoes at 10 feet away and tell the man whether the gap in them is pointing up, down, to the right or left (ue, shita, migi or hidari). When you get one of them wrong make out it was your faulty Japanese not your faulty vision. Pass test with flying colours.
6. Rejoin the throng who have passed through Window 8, get in queue for window 10. Read a chapter of David Sedariss' amusing Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls collection of essays. Hand in paperwork and declare you have not moved house, changed telephone number, religion or sexual preference to your knowledge in the last three years. Something like that. Say: "Zembu onaji." Everything's the same, dude.
7. Receive plastic chitty with three digits on it. Stand around until your number is called then stand in line some more to have your picture taken. Do not smile. Then go upstairs.
8. Wait 20 minutes in Classroom 2 for a 30-minute drivers' education talk by an old man in a suit who has a very long bamboo stick which he uses to point at things on the overhead screen. Everything is over your head, so get on with a watercolour sketch of the backs of your classmates' heads (optional). Hide watercolour. Receive stamp to say you survived the talk.
9. Listen carefully for a different three-digit number on your stamped receipt hidden within a five digit number in the right hand corner. Didn't quite follow why this was so, but the watercolour came out quite well (see above). And they renewed Our Man's licence.
10. Now proud holder of a golden licence that means Our Man only has to do this whole thing again in five years, not three like the the plebs who got caught speeding on their old licences.