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Would you be able to drive in Japan?

November 4, 2007

Princess Edamame, this one’s for you!

I just put “Hamamatsu” into the YouTube search box and got quite a few results.  This one is my favorite, though, because the apartment where I lived for three years was right off Route 150 and watching this video made me feel like I was there again.

My question is: would you be able to drive in Japan?  Look at how close the houses and stores are to the road and how there are telephone and electricity poles pretty much in the street, not on the sidewalk (is there even enough room for a sidewalk?).  Did you notice you are on the left side of the road?  Did you get a little uncomfortable going across the narrow pink bridge, hallucinating that you wouldn’t be able to stay in your lane?

Imagine your kei-car is made of aluminum-can-grade metal so you’re not too confident in its ability to withstand an accident.  Imagine if you were to get in an accident your boss, supervisor and co-workers would most likely hear about it within a few hours since you, as a foreigner, have the responsibility of representing Hamamatsu’s school system, not to mention your home country.

Queasy yet?

The redeeming aspect of driving in Hamamatsu is that there is one lonely skyscraper, so if you ever get lost or turned around you can just look for Act City (pronounced Akuto Shitty) and head downtown until you recognize where you are.


  1. November 4, 2007 11:01 pm

    Too bad it is not a video of the mountains. Where I live, the main road is about that wide, but the buildings are right next to the road, no shoulder at all. So in addition to two busy lanes of traffic, you have bicycles and pedestrians to watch out for with the occasional sheer drop off on either side.

  2. November 5, 2007 12:06 am

    I didn’t get up the nerve to drive until I had been there for a year and a half. I was a bicyclist before that. We had a 2002 Honda Life. I’m going to do another post just on my sweet little car sometime this month.

    Thanks for coming to my blog, selfrighteousjerk. What a great name for a sensei, LOL!

    Have you checked YouTube to see if there is a video of the road in your region? This one was done by a Brazilian.

  3. Accountable permalink
    November 5, 2007 10:31 am

    I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t drive there. That bridge was too narrow and those trucks are too wide! 🙂 I feel clausterphobic (sp?) enough in our construction zones, which probably has more lane width than the road in Japan!

  4. November 6, 2007 12:05 am

    Be very careful!

    Fantastic – and Prince Edamame (hubby) agrees completely about Akuto Shitty. He got back about a week and a half ago from Hamamatsu, and brought me a couple of books on Japanese architecture.

    Thanks, FW!

  5. November 7, 2007 2:26 pm

    Accountable, I think that it’s true. Two lanes there are the same size as one lane here. 😯

    You’re welcome, Princess Edamame. The fact that we have this Hamamatsu connection still blows my mind. 😛

  6. November 10, 2007 2:44 am

    It’s totally bizarre, FW, but kinda cool. Hamamatsu’s not like Tokyo, or even Kyoto; cities most people know of or have heard of, tourist destinations. It’s just a working town that most people out of Japan don’t even know exists!

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