It seems there is no conclusive evidence that Japanese people are any worse at driving than any other nationality. For some reason. But anyone who has driven here will know the sheer horror - whether on the awful streets of Tokyo or the tiny mountain roads of Nagano prefecture, of driving. Maybe it is just "different", and works somehow. Maybe. My car got virtually totalled by an old Japanese fart the other month (800,000 yen repair bill), so maybe I'm biased. Well, definitely I am.

In any case, this article is intended to be light-hearted and shouldn't be taken too seriously by anybody. Live in Japan for any amount of time and you'll need to let off steam occasionally. AccessJ's writing team is no exception.

This is what those scamps get up to:

Wide corners

Actually yes, my car does look like that.
Remember when you first started driving and thought you were an HGV with a 40-metre turning circle? It seems the Japanese still think that. Even about their stupid little kei-car. Oncoming traffic? Troublesome!

Stopping anywhere

ANYWHERE. Need to pick up some ume boshi? Got an important call? Need to visit your friend who lives part-way down a cul-de-sac? Well, why not just stop. Immediately. Put your hazards on (because you've become a hazard, right?), and job done. I've seen this on a main road on a blind corner on a steep hill to cite only the most recent case (today). Optional: pulling in at all, staying in the car or even coming back within an hour.

Kids don't need seatbelts

Got kids? Let's see how much fun we can have with them in the car before they die. Seatbelts? No way, man! Let's have them stand on the front seat or do cartwheels in the back. Wheeeeee! Woooooo! Careful with mummy's Mickey dashboard mascots there sweetie. Stop dangling off daddy's huge blue faux-crystal gear shift, ne?


Annoyed by being able to see to your right and left whilst driving? Constantly distracted at intersections or pedestrian crossings? Fret no more. Introducing: car curtains. Visibility is so over-rated. Blinkers work on horses, right? Make them calm and that. Don't want your car all excited and sniffing at other cars' tailpipes, do you? Logic. Optional: loud music to drown out the screams and completely retreat into your own selfish little horrible world.

Reverse parking

Got to park?
God dammit. Why? Why do Japanese people always reverse in? I learned to drive at a Japanese driving school, and they never told me that I should do that. When does this start? And why don't they ever get it right first time? You'd think after all that practice they'd actually be able to do it. You're clearly just chasing the dragon, Japan. Stop it.

Constantly running very red lights and huge lorries trying to sideswipe everyone on the expressway. And smoking in the car with windows closed and children and/or passengers (me) in the back. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

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