Thursday, May 24, 2012

Cars - The Conclusion (I hope!)

Alright, so here is the process I underwent to change my license plate from this

to this (for privacy reasons, I am not including my actual license plate #):

1) Get a parking ticket by accidentally leaving your car on the wrong side of the apartment block.
2) Report said ticket to the police, which takes around 45 minutes of paperwork.
3) Be told that an Okinawa license plate is illegal if I am no longer a resident of Okinawa.
4) Pay the parking ticket (at the post office, of all places).
5) Ask the landlords for the "proof of parking space" forms.
6) Pay them a large sum just for the forms.
7) Take the forms to the police station, fill in more forms.
8) Pay them a moderate sum for processing fees.
9) Return to the police station in a week to collect the proof of parking sticker for your car.
10) Pay them a small sum for picking up the form.
11) Go to city office and get a record of your previous addresses.
12) Pay them a small sum for that record.
13) Go to the department of motorized vehicles.
14) Go to Building 1, Teller #4, for instructions on how to proceed.
15) Go to Building 2, Teller #13, collect necessary papers.
16) Pay them a tiny fee for the papers.
17) Proceed to Teller #14, collect more papers.
18) Pay them a small fee for... I'm not sure what.
19) Go back to Building 1, Teller #4, for instructions on how to fill out the papers.
20) Fill out the papers, submit them, and wait.
21) Collect the papers, and go back to Building 2, Teller #11, for more papers.
22) Collect papers, borrow a screwdriver.
23) Go back to your car, remove your old license plates.
24) Go back to Teller 11, return screwdriver and turn in old plates.
25) Go back to Building 1, Teller #4, with completed paperwork.
26) Go back to Building 2, Teller #16, fill in more paperwork.
27) Go to Teller #12, pick up new plates.
28) Pay them a moderate fee for the new plates.
29) Go to Teller #11, borrow the screwdriver again.
30) Put on the new plates.
31) Wait for one of their men to affix the safety screw cover (see left side of picture 2).
32) Give him the screwdriver.
33) Congratulations, you may now drive legally in Kobe!

Of course, if I had parked properly, I could have avoided steps 1-4. But without that parking violation and the ensuing ticket, I would have never known that I had been breaking the law all along!

And so my car adventures come to an end... for now! Hopefully my blog will have more new posts about something other than motorized vehicles soon!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Me, Japan, and Cars... AGAIN

So it seems as though my blog has turned into a "why having a car in Japan can be super frustrating" blog. But really, that is not what I want it to be.

Still, this one relates to the one I wrote about my parking ticket. When I went to pay the ticket, I was told that I technically was breaking the law by driving my car while still having an Okinawa license plate. What? I didn't know that! So I have been waiting for various paperwork to arrive before I can apply for a change of address at Japan's version of the DMV. Finally, I have all the paperwork I need.

Or so I thought. I called the DMV and asked them, and they said I need a copy of my proof of residence in Japan, which includes my previous address. (The one on my car registration.) The proof of residence has my current address and my previous address on it (the address I had two months ago, before getting married). Problem: the address on my car registration is 3 addresses before that one, which means it is not recorded on the proof of residence paper. So how am I to get papers showing all 4 places I have lived since I had my car registered? That's what I need, just to change my license plate. It is not enough that my car registration has the old address and that my current ID has my current address. That would make things simple. And in Japan, when it comes to paperwork, simple does not suffice.

So the headache continues. (Sarcastic rant begins here. "For those of you back in North America who think the Japanese are super efficient, think again. No country in the world puts out as much paperwork as this one, no country's labor force puts in as much overtime as this one, and trust me, there is plenty of inefficient work happening in this country. I won't go into details about how many labor hours were wasted today at a certain company I know, but let's just say they could have done a lot more with their collective 90 hours of discussing... what was it about again? Yes, today was a frustrating, 'Trying to find a reason to love this country' kind of day." End rant.)