Saturday, August 7, 2010

It's hot out there, but not I am not complaining (much)

Baby, it's hot outside!  I swore I wouldn't complain because I complained so much about the cold last winter and spring.  I was mighty disappointed in the winter here in Japan, I thought we would have a more tropical kind of winter.  Instead, it was cold just like in Washington.  Well, maybe not AS cold, but still pretty darn cold, with some snow to boot.

It is hot here, with high humidity.  When you step outside- it is like going into a sauna.  But we have AC, so the hot weather is much more bearable. 

 However, did you catch my mention of a little car accident a while back?  The car I bought from my neighbor back in April is now totalled.  Well, technically, it could have been fixed- but the cost to fix it was more than the car is worth.  Basically I was driving to my house and a guy came out of nowhere (having run a stop sign), I didn't have enough time to stop and couldn't get out of his way, so he hit me.  He didn't see me until the impact either.  No one was hurt, we were all very lucky in that respect.  I was lucky too, that this was on base.  Getting into an accident off base is everyone's fear I think.  But I can say this was my first international incident, seeing how the other guy is a Japanese national.  I had one of my ladies' groups I teach English to, in the car with me.  So the guy I got into the accident went over to them and told them in Japanese that the accident was MY fault.  They knew better of course!  He even tried to lie to the liason (the interpreter), and said I was turning and he hit me in a different part of the street.  But she saw the tale-tell signs of skid marks and pieces of my headlight where the accident actually ocurred.

Like I said, no one was hurt.  I realized later that the guy was obviously distracted, and it could have been so much worse.  What if a kid had been riding his bike or someone was crossing the street?  I did feel awful about my poor ladies, they were a little shaken up, but so supportive and concerned about me.  They are so sweet, I love them all.

it's smooshed!

My lovely Japanese ladies I teach English to (and who were in the accident with me). 
Check out the doll- it was a gift from them.  It is so beautiful!
So that was back in June.  Here it is August and I still don't have a new car, nor have I received any compensation.  It is still in the works.  It didn't help that security botched the first report and then took over a week to correct it.  It has all been a very frustrating experience to be sure.  I have Hubby's car, but it has NO AC!  It is just a two door little hooptie, it is like driving an oven on wheels.  I rented a car for a couple of days so we could drive to Brother's ortho appointment and do some other things that required being in the car more than 5 minutes.  The rental is a little Nissan, nothing fancy, but it felt like a luxury car when we blasted that AC!  I felt a little sad turning the keys back in.  Wish me luck on getting a new car, I am so dreading the whole process.

A little note about Japanese traffic laws and such.  For us Americans, we will get at least 10% liability even if the accident is really 100% the other party's fault (for accidents that are off base.)  Someone told me it was explained to him that it is because we are in the country, therefore we have 10% fault.  If we are not here, there wouldn't be an incident.  If you get into an accident and the other party is injured, you have to bring gifts and money to them when they are in the hospital.  It is called gomen-nasai (I am sorry).  And be sure you don't bring an inappropriate gift.  A potted plant is a bad choice- because has roots and you don't want the person to "grow roots" in a hospital and therefore never leave.

Drunk driving is no joke either.  I can't remember what the blood alcohol limits are, but they are extremely low, and even lower on base.  If you have just one drink you are done for the night.  If you have many drinks, you are done for the night and the next morning too.  I seriously will not drink if I have to go somewhere in the morning, it is too risky.  If you are in a car with someone who is drinking and driving, you will go to jail with him if caught.  The penalty for drinking and driving in Japan is prison with hard labor.  Though I did hear that the US government helps provide better prison quarters, I am sure it is still no trip to the park.

I totally understand the strict rules on D&D here.  The roads are too narrow and too congested with not only cars but pedestrians, bikes and scooters.  One must be at the top of his or her game to drive.  Actually, I think maybe the US could do with some stricter laws.  It would probably save more lives, what do you think?

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