Wednesday, we went to renew Satoshi's Japan drivers license so I wanted to share with you an email I sent to my family and friends in 2001 regarding my experience with Satoshi at the D.M.V.
"Yesterday, we went to renew Satoshi's drivers license. It operates from 8:30am to 10:30am and 13:30pm to 15:30pm. So we left home at about 7:00am, the bus to the station was PACKED!
After we got to the train station, there were so many "salarymen"(businessmen) travelling to work and coming to work. Cigarette smoke filled the whole station, even with all the windows open, it was pretty bad (kind of like Vegas, except the windows were OPEN!)
When we got to the destination by train, we had to catch a bus to the license office (this took about 20 minutes to get there).
We walked in thinking that it wouldn't be too busy (this was Satoshi's thinking) and it was PACKED! There were at least 300 people already standing in line! Japan is known for their lines so, Satoshi stood in line after line....
Line 1: Check to make sure that you are allowed to renew (only 1 month prior to expiration).
Line 2: Pay for license (about US$23 for 3 years).
Line 3: Make any address changes, etc.
Line 4: Eye exam
Line 5: Turn in forms
Line 6: Take picture
Line 7: Go to listen to a 30 minute lecture about safe driving.
After you listen to the lecture, you receive your new license. Amazingly, we were out of there in about 1 hour!"
UPDATE: A 3 year license with no accidents or violations, allows you to get a 5 year license, this costs 2800 yen (about US$28). The time that you can check-in is now shortened to 8:30-9:30am and 13:30-14:30pm. The rest of the drill is the same, including the lecture. Satoshi says that if you've had accidents or violations you need to listen to a l-o-n-g-e-r lecture (that should keep you violation/accident free).
It is Friday, hope you have a great weekend!