Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Learning to Drive, Part 4

I'm afraid part four is a bit anti-climatic. You could probably guess that I wasn't willing to pay $2000 to fix my $1100 car, and so I went back on the market for a car (the third car in less than a year). Mr. Shinohara, finally grasping the depths of my miserliness, sold me an even smaller, even older, and even more beat up car for just $500! It had less than a year of "shaken" left on it, but I didn't plan to be in Japan that long.

The best part about that car, which was also a stick shift, was that the engine invariably died twice each time I drove up the mountain to my second school. Since it did it consistently and since this usually happened on the steepest parts of the drive, I got pretty good at predicting when the engine would die so I could get out of the middle of the road before power left me completely.

If it hadn't been for a certain Japanese man I met half-way through my second year as a teacher in Japan, I would have kept driving that death trap up and down the mountain until it's final "shaken" day (at which point I am sure the car would have failed inspection and been impounded). But that guy (a.k.a. Ren) convinced me I was being too cheap and stupid for my own good. He also convinced me I might want to stay in Japan just a bit longer than originally planned. So the fourth car I got (yes, that's four cars in the span of two years) cost me a whopping $2500 (for a grand total of $4100 spent on three white, stick-shift, "K" cars).

I am happy to say that car and I lived happily ever after.

Okay, some more pictures. First, the road (you can see it at the end of the red bridge) where I nearly met my demise with the "falling rock" (or mountain side).

Next, same bridge, different angle:

My mountain road to school:

And the road to the "big city":

Alas, I can't take credit for any of these pictures, since I lived there in the days before digital photography...

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