I live a pretty monastic life during the week in terms of eating well, exercising regularly, and avoiding booze. On the weekends, however, I tend to kick back and make up for lost time. This usually works out well, except when we have four-day weekends. Having extra time off this past weekend meant a few extra days of easing the standards on my otherwise straight and narrow lifestyle, and it’s most apparent when I step on the scale. But back to work tomorrow and the equilibrium should be regained shortly.
To be honest, I think I might rather have been working today compared to how I spent the day. It was time for me to renew my license, after first getting it about 3 years ago. If I miss this window to renew it within a month following my birthday, I have to go through all the hassle of taking the driving test again once my current license expires. So it was up and in traffic around 8 this morning. On a good day it takes between 30 and 40 minutes to reach the driving center; it took closer to an hour today.
Things went smoothy as I turned in my old license and submitted my new address, paid the fee, checked my eyes, and finally took a picture for my new license. It was then that I glanced down at a ticket they had given me, showing me a map of how to get to Classroom C, where I was to report at 9:50. Then I read what it said next: 2 hours. WTF? When I entered the classroom the instructor asked if I could speak Japanese, and I responded that yeah I sort of could. And so for the next two hours, minus a ten minute break, I sat with about 6 other people and struggled to keep up as the instructor prattled on and on about the most basic elements of safe driving.
Two questions. 1) When do I get those two hours back? 2) How is that in a city where it’s extremely difficult to attain a license, and they force these BS two-hour classes on everyone, that the otherwise lovely residents of Kanazawa can still be such shitty drivers?
At the end of class we were presented with our new license. I like how the new 50mm lens on f1.8 conveniently blurs out all of my personal details, but allows you to see the main change with the new license — that blurry blue stripe to the left of my mug.
When you first get a license in Japan, that stripe is green. If you have no infractions within the first three years, you get a blue license. If I make it through the next three years without incident, I reach the almighty gold stripe, which is really a crock since many people around here have gold stripes yet suck at driving. But, insurance is lowest once you get the gold, so there’s some solace for me there.
When we got home I passed out on the couch for a few hours while listening to the radio, and eventually got up and went off to the gym to atone for my gluttonous past few days. It was rainy and cool, so not a bad way to spend the afternoon. Much preferable to the morning. Night.