Nostalgia...

Qaxe

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I was looking at member bike pics, and saw a pretty red Nighthawk. Nighthawks hold a peculiar place in my brain. Lots of cop Nighthawk 250s in Osaka, and the Japanese driver's test is done on Nighthawks. That's right, can't use your own bike... and the testers are all cops.

Only time I rode a Nighthawk was the time I failed the Japanese driver's license test.

The testing site was massive. They have their own tiny intersection, traffic lights, a fake railroad crossing complete with rails, and proper lanes, all fenced off JUST for the motorcycle driving test. It's very clean too. The car testing area is separate, and it's the size of a Target parking lot. It took me 4 trains and a bus to get to the testing site, because it's out in the middle of absolute bloody nowhere.

It cost me $30 for an official, notarized translation of my Washington State DL, $10 for their rules and regulations book (no choice), $33 to take the written test, $7 for my photo, $6 for an eye exam, and $10 to use their motorcycle to test. Oh, and you have to study, because the written test is in Japanese. I saved $16.50 because I failed. How? You have to pay a PASSING FEE if you pass.

I'd ridden motorcycles everyday for years prior to taking the test, so how could I fail? It's hard. First, every stop requires both feet down on the ground. One foot? Fail. Don't use hand signals? Fail. Change lanes sloppily? Fail. Cross the train-tracks without pausing and looking both way? Pow. I did great until the "steel bridge". There's a 12" x 30' steel plate that you have to idle across. Can't just drive across or you fail. And can't put your foot down or you fail. My foot touched. Cost me $100 for about 3min. on the test course. Guy next to me was there for his fifth time.

Not only is it strict and expensive, you have to do everything and PAY everything all over if you want to try again...including the eye exam. So $100 every try. After I failed, I gave the test site the finger and went home. Then contacted AAA and got an international driver license for $15.

So... Nighthawks... as long as they're red, they're great. White & blue? ....mmmeeeehhhh, not so much.
 
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