Driving Freedom

Having a driving license is like a rite of passage for most Americans, especially when growing up in a small town in Oregon. I started driving the tractor on our blueberry farm when I was old enough to reach the pedals. It was expected that I would get my permit at 15 years old and then a year later be released onto the real roads on my own.

So, with nearly 30 years of driving experience, it gave me a bit of anxiety when I realized I had somehow allowed my US license to expire completely. After checking what I could do during a visit home this past winter, the process requires me to take all the tests again, which could take months due to a waiting list.

As an expat, I don’t have the luxury of waiting months back in the US. I do have a valid driving license from having lived in the UAE for almost nine years and that license is set to expire early next year. Therefore, my next best option was to transfer my license in Japan.

Truthfully, I don’t have that much need to drive in Japan because the trains are so efficient. Also, the roads are crowded and driving on the other side of the road is not something to which I’m accustomed. However, I cannot imagine life without a license as it represents freedom to me.

Fortunately, the process of transferring a foreign license over is not that complicated. Of course, it helps to speak Japanese and have experience driving – even on the opposite side. Still, it is a long and fairly nerve-wracking process as those of us who drive on the right side have to take a driving test on a course.

After taking a morning to do the application and written (computer) exam, I booked an appointment a month later to take the driving test. At last, along with training in patience, I have my Japanese driving license and my sense of freedom is returned. Watch out, everyone, here I come!!


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アメリカ育ちで日本で9年間英語を教えた経験あり。日本以外にもAbu Dhabiでも英語を教えていたベテランの先生です。 ヨガを教える資格も持っていてとてもアクティブで、「諦めずに頑張って」とモチベーションをくれる指導スタイルで人気。 座右の銘は「We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit」。