The International Driver’s Licence and Why I Should Have Grated My Head

I had to go to the police station to apply for an International driver’s licence. Should have been such a simple thing.
The first time I went the motor vehicle department was closed to applications for IDL. It was open for regular licence applications but the ‘international’division is not open Sundays.
Fairy snuff, no problem. Went back for my 2nd visit the next day, asked for an application form, thought I’d take it home, fill it out, gather the necessary documents etc.
No, there will be no taking home of forms. Fill it out here and hand in with necessary documents.
So I said I wasn’t at that stage, what are the necessary docs?
J. driver’s licence
Inkan ( seal)
How much is the fee?
2500 yen.
Okay, so I went to the photo booth today but none of the options said IDL, so wasn’t sure what size and certainly didn’t want to waste 400 yen. So went back to the police station a third time and asked what size the photo needed to be.
The man said, ‘5cms X 4cms.
Back to photo-me booth, pouring rain of course.
There is no 5 x 4 option. 3.5 x 4.5 or 5 x 7.
Executive decision, 5 x 7 tis and off we go.
After much rolling of the stool up down up down till I could get my chin, forehead and eye line exactly in place.
Ready to take ooops it took.
Never mind I’ll get another shot, oops didn’t press’ another shot please’ button fast enough, I’m stuck with this picture. The picture would have been perfect.
If I had been auditioning for a part in a film, the part of skanky trailer trash mother of 9 explaining to Indonesian immigration officers how the 3kgs of heroin came to be in her bag because she’d been duped by a hot Dutch lothario, then it would have been perfect, never mind, I was stuck with it anywhere, just hope I don’t get arrested in England.
Now to get the size right. I went down to my school, where I have all the very latest equipment for cutting and measuring, like scissors and rulers.
We have them in the house too but no idea where.
I diligently measured my 5cms and my 4cms, cut perfectly, back to the police station.
I had already observed they closed for lunch, God forbid I should go there unnecessarily.
So visit # 4.
Got the form filled out this time, she asked me what the purpose of my visit is, which I think is none of her damn business, but then wasn’t the time to speak my mind.
She asked me to wait a few minutes.
I checked, I had photo, passport, inkan, 2,500 in exact cash, I’m ready to do this.
She called my name, photo please.
“ Oh Holy Nights, for the love of God what’s this?” says she . ( I’m paraphrasing). She said, it’s supposed to be 5 x 4.
I say, ‘it is, I measured and cut it with my state of the art equipment.”
She says, “ no, no, this is 4 x 5, I can’t accept this”.
Long story short, dash back out in the rain. Didn’t even park the car in the car park this time, just pulled up right in front of Photo-Me, left the keys in the ignition, hazards on.
Took the photo, must have been some harried, blotchy faced, saggy jowled hag behind me, I’m sure I don’t look like that, never mind, marginally better than duped drug mule look. Back I went. I asked the woman for a pair of scissors and she says oh don’t worry about cutting them, they’ll do it at the licence centre, thanks a bunch mate, might have been nice to have known, never mind ,nearly there now. Passport please, here you go, J.licence please, here you go. Fee please, 2,500 here you go. No it’s 2650, okay, never mind, here you are and we are DONE!

She gave me a receipt and a sacred piece of paper that says I can pick up the licence after the 20th of this month
She said, ‘ Only the applicant can pick it up.”
I said, ‘gotcha’
She said, ‘ it must be you.’
‘It must be Miss Behaving San’
‘I hear you.
‘Your husband cannot pick it up for you.’
Why would she think he would, he hasn’t been there for the first five visits, why is he going to come out of nowhere and pick it up for me?
Never mind.
‘ Okay, I got it, I understand, I am fully comprehending the ‘applicant only’ aspect. Thank you.
Roll on September 20th.

11 thoughts on “The International Driver’s Licence and Why I Should Have Grated My Head

  1. Where on earth did you apply? The one and only time I applied for one I’m sure I got it the same day although I’m glad you had all the hassle and we got another great story!

    Which reminds me, I need another girls’ night out – I haven’t had a good belly-laugh in ages!

    • And then a fine layer of red over it all. I suppose it’s like this everywhere. I was recently reading how to get govt assistance in the UK, according to the news *everyone* is getting it and yet it seems impossible to get?

    • I actually like driving in the UK, it’s a whole other experience when you can read the road signs. I’m going on a mini road trip with my fabulous gal pal so we’ll be able to split the driving if I have an IDL.

  2. I have now decided I will definitely renew the British license I have lost rather than apply for an international one. *Apparently* it is a simple online process…

    • I have my UK one ( valid until 2037 lol) but the address is invalid and I can’t change it. Just a heads up if you get a new one, I heard recently that the UK does not allow you to have a licence in another country and they won’t give you a UK one if they know you have a J. one, so if the question comes up ( though I doubt it will) deny all knowledge.

  3. Never done that one, but insert an other official document you must receive from an offical Japanese agency and it’s pretty much the same story. Don’t even ask about the photo drama regarding DD’s first Japanese passport application.

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