The Daily Bento

Live from Okinawa, Japan

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First Impressions: Driving in Okinawa

Posted by dailybento on March 2, 2009 at 9:20 AM
Well, thanks for all the well-informed advice that we’ve received recently about driving in Okinawa, but as far as I can tell, if there is such a thing as a Japanese road code, then Okinawan drivers have a very loose understanding of it. Maybe down here the road rules are considered inappropriate, or even antisocial, because Okinawan traffic appears to be a life-force unto itself. 
The traffic here seems to live as a slow, viscous animal which melts and flows around any obstacle that may be in the way, be it some tiny bubble of a vehicle that has decided to stop unannounced and go no further, or a shoe box with wheels that has given up waiting to turn and simply decided to drift into oncoming traffic.
On my first day in Okinawa my coworker showed remarkable powers with his “Hand of God Technique” wherein he simply held his hand out majestically when he wanted to turn, and slowly dissolved his way into traffic. This elegant automobile ballet was performed numerous times while I sat in the passenger seat, white at the knuckles, sweating at the brow, and with right foot planted firmly on the imaginary brake.
I’ve become far more comfortable with the roads now, and have even started driving myself, but I just wish the damn
roads had names!
Drive safely everyone.

Categories: Driving

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