Tag Archives: bad driving

Kindness and Rudeness on the Way to the Nursery

I just had a mostly unpleasant trip to my daughter’s nursery.

It started off with getting on a full bus with no available seats. I was carrying my daughter, and several people looked at me. I stood near the back door for about a minute, then was pleasantly surprised when a young man gave up his seat for me. +5 points!

As I sat there riding the bus, the lady beside me got up at her stop. Keep in mind that I was sitting in the priority seat. There were several elderly people standing on the bus and the seat next to mine was the only available seat. Not one of them sat next to me. This could be for 2 reasons. First and probably the biggest reason is I had a toddler sitting on my lap. I know I avoid those seats. Second reason, and more unlikely, is that I’m a foreigner. This is that phenomenon that affects many foreigners in Japan, the empty seat syndrome. This actually never happens to me on the bus, so I’d say it was my daughter. The worst part was when one elderly woman spotted the seat, went for it, then noticed my daughter and I. She quickly looked away and stood a couple metres away from me looking around awkwardly. -5 points.

The bus ride continued when someone finally sat beside me. My daughter touched her and the woman said it was okay and smiled. +2 points.

Then a man across from us looked over and said she was cute. This happens a lot, actually. +2 points.

After getting off the bus, we were crossing at a crosswalk with an approaching white car traveling on a parallel course with us. He then suddenly turned directly in front of us without signaling, coming about 50 cm from hitting us. I got a good look at him. A middle-aged man with dyed brown hair, kind of mullet style, gold-rimmed tinted glasses, and lots of gold jewelry. There’s no way he didn’t see us. I was furious! -100 points.

Final score: -96


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The problems with drivers in Japan

I think that overall, people in Japan are good drivers.  They need to be to drive on the narrow streets and park their cars in ridiculously small garages that allow no space to actually open the door to get out (this is still a huge mystery to me how they do it!).  But there are three things that Japanese drivers do that annoy me.

First, when a traffic light changes to red, instead of stopping, one person just has to race through the red light as if it were an emergency.  Quite often, I see people running red lights like that.

Second, I’ve seen so many people driving with their headlights turned off at night.  Maybe they forgot, maybe they didn’t.  But I’ve seen people turn their lights on a few seconds after starting to drive.  That’s really dangerous!

Finally, it seems that many people don’t use their turn signals as they were meant to be used.  Instead of signaling their intent to turn, they signal while they are turning.  That is utterly useless!  Just tonight, I saw someone stopped at a red light, then start driving forward when it turned green.  I thought they were coming through the intersection toward me, so I waited for them to pass before crossing the street (it’s a narrow street that people usually don’t drive down, as they usually turn at that intersection).  But instead of going straight, he or she started turning, then signaled!  That just annoys me a lot.

Do you have any driver pet peeves in Japan?

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