Sunday, May 13, 2007

Driving Lessons in the Country

Leaving Japan in July, I have to sell my car and think I've found a potential buyer. The problem: She learned to drive 8 years ago on a closed course and hasn't touched a steering wheel since. She also can't drive clutch. The Solution: Driving lessons in the middle of nowhere!

Yes, my friend Jake's girlfriend, Junko is seriously interested in buying my car. But being the paper driver that she is, she needs some help learning to drive a clutch and some practice before actually taking to the road. So Jake and I took her to the rice field infested countryside where we taught her to drive around in farmland along Lake Inawashiro. While this is definitely an unusual thing for a used car salesman to do, I actually thought it would be kind of fun.

For somebody who has only driven about 10 hours on a closed course 8 years ago, she did remarkably well. She only stalled the car about 5 times. By the end of the day, she had most of the basics down as far as working a clutch. I had taken her to the closest spot I knew that I thought would lack any traffic. The scenic village of Konan along the shores of Lake Inawashiro fit the bill. But I think Junko is probably ready to graduate to closer areas with a little more traffic. She should be ready by July.

Only Junko took the day seriously. Jake and I goofed around the whole time. I pulled out an old trick from my dad. Do any of you know the one where you pretend the steering wheel doesn't work and start screaming while driving down the road? It's still funny in Japan.

Picture Disclaimer: The careful reader and observer will notice long rice in the picture. I took these pictures three years ago in the same area where I acted as driving tutor. Junko took the third picture with her cell phone. As you can plainly see, the area is quite pretty.

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