Jul 15, 2018
Do you drive in Japan? I do, and I love it. I've driven in almost 40 prefectures now, and it's a fantastic way to see all the sights at your own pace. Besides, there are certain places that are only accessible by bus or car, and if I have to choose between being behind the wheel or packed like sardines into a giant can on wheels, I'll take the wheel every time.
That said, driving in Japan can get a bit hairy from time-to-time. I wrote a blog on here about the different types of bad drivers you'll encounter on the road, but there are also infrastructure challenges.
Sometimes the roads are really narrow. Sometimes they zig zag with no rhyme or reason. Sometimes they have no guard rails even with a dangerous drop off right next to it. Sometimes it's all of the above:
That's what I encountered today while driving up to the Ajisai Park in Tokamachi. We hadn't planned on going there, but when we saw a sign for it, we decided to make the trek up the mountain to check it out, since both my wife and I enjoy ajisai (especially when they are beset by the rich greenery that Niigata offers).
What started as a nicely paved, wide road continued to narrow, and what was a gradual incline and relatively straight turned steep and windy. I didn't stop to take any photos on the way up because I was white-knucklin' it not knowing what kind of Sunday Driver might come barreling down a blind curve.
Fortunately, I discovered that my wife and I are probably the only people under 70 who would choose to detour to go see an Ajisai park, so there wasn't much traffic at all (none, to be precise).
Thus, on the way back down, I figured I would snap that shot above to show you just how little clearance there was, with not a guard rail in sight!
Drive safely out there!
Hitting the books once again as a Ph.D. student in Niigata Prefecture. Although I've lived in Japan many years, life as a student in this country is a first.
Blessed Dad. Lucky Husband. Happy Gaijin (most of the time).