Genki and Shaken (Japanese Automotive Inspection)

I don’t even know how to describe my experience with the Genki Tosaben Musical.  It was hell…, hell on my body, hell on my mind, but more than any of that hellish fun.  After the 5 performance weekend that just was, two nights of exhausted pass-out sleep, I’m still absolutely exhausted.  I was very near to falling asleep at many points during the day.  My mind has been sort of blurry since the end of the last show (better now… but still not perfect).  I am grateful for getting to work along with everyone else I did.  Being in close proximity for that many people every weekend for 2 months has really tested our ability to get along with each other.  I know there were moments when many people probably wanted to punch me, and… what can I say?  I don’t deal well with that much socializing, so I probably would have deserved it.  But on the other end of that, there was no one I would have wanted to been absent at any point.  Every single person in that performance enriched the experience for me and our audiences.  Everyone’s patience and tolerance was remarkable, and I’m sort of echoing what was said at the afterparty but the fact that tasks were never assigned, they just got done without asking.  Everyone was the stage crew.  Everyone let people rest that needed to rest.  We managed to work with amazing efficiency despite being pretty much a bunch of untrained yet talented amateurs.  It was fantastic learning so much about performing, acting, and Japanese! And watching others learn alongside me was just as rewarding.

In other news.  Japanese Shaken was the easiest thing I did yesterday.  It was easier than finding a place to get lunch.  Easier than finding something to order on the lunch menu of the place I ate at (an independent burger place called Phoenix Burger), and it was easier by far than running my Eikaiwa class.  It was so easy in fact that I can’t believe everyone here pays at least 2 if not 5-6 times what I paid to have someone do it for them.  Let me break down what I did and how much each bit cost.

I made a reservation on the kei jidousha (yellow plate car) automotive group website using their very easy to fill out reservation form.  I asked a favor and got the confirmation e-mail for that reservation printed out for me (I wasn’t at home and didn’t have a printer handy).  Drove down to the testing center in Nagahama south of Kochi city (as shown in the map below) about an hour before my reservation time (it said be early).
View Larger Map

I went in and brought my little booklet of car paperwork that I had from when I bought the car.  It included my previous shaken form, insurance information, receipt for payment of car tax, and maybe some other stuff.  I showed them that and gave them my reservation form and said I came to do “User Shaken” ユーザー車検 and that it was my first time.  They directed me to another desk where I filled out my name, address, and paid the testing fee of about 9000 yen.  Then they told me to go drive through into lane 1 (as was drawn out on the pavement outside).  Waited for 1 car ahead of me, then drove in and met a friendly guy who lived in Australia for a year playing baseball.  He gave me some instructions in English and looked under the hood of my car very briefly.  Then he told me to drive forward and wait while he tested my exhaust fumes.  Then I moved forward again onto some rollers and had to accelerate to 40 kph at which point another guy working their reached in and flashed my high beams at a sensor.  Then they told me to turn on other lights, press the brakes, emergency brake, etc.  Last they checked my headlight alignment and my wheel alignment and bearings and such.  I had a misaligned headlight so they gave me a piece of paper showing how it was off in mathematical terms and told me to go across the street and get it fixed.  I did for 1000 yen came back, waited in line behind 2 cars, got waved through all the other tests this time.  They rechecked it and gave me an OK then directed me back to the office where I paid for insurance (mandatory) at a little less than 20000 yen.  They handed me a sticker and then the dude who lived in Australia even came out with a scraper and put it on for me.  Bam.  Total cost: Just around 30000 yen.  Total time, about 1 hour.  I just want to mention, my car is 15 years old.  It was made in Heisei 7 (1995) and I had this test done in 2010.  It had 72200 km on it the day of the test.  The communication was mostly done with gestures and I think if you understand even very very basic Japanese you could successfully accomplish this task with no major headaches.  Make sure your car is in relatively decent running condition before you go in, otherwise you’ll just have to circle around and make more trips than necessary.

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