The cost of getting a 250-400cc licence.

So the important stuff about getting your licence. The cost of doing the Manual Transmission 250cc-399cc licence lessons and test at my driving school is approximately 12万. That’s if you pay up front. If you pay with a finance package, you can add around another 1万 to that if you pay it off over 6 months, more if longer. You can take it that this is a ball-park figure. I’ve heard about schools in Tokyo with English speaking instructors charging higher fees, but as you can see, I’m getting on well with basic Japanese. Many people here actually welcome the opportunity to have a go with their high school English as well, so between you, you’ll manage rightly.

Now here’s the deal with finance. I’m married to a Japanese woman and my Japanese language ability is not great. When we applied at the school we chose to pay it off over six months. I could have paid it off over 12 months at a higher rate of interest. They said they’d phone me later that day at 6pm to confirm my details regarding the finance loan. However, my wife and I forgot that I’d be on a train at that time without my translator (the wife).

At 6pm I was on the train and a woman from the finance company phoned me and I couldn’t understand a word beyond who she was. It was quite technical language, well beyond by ability. The conversation went nowhere fast and it ended after about half a minute of awkwardness. Soon after my wife phoned to tell me that they’d phoned her to let us know that I had been declined the loan because I wasn’t able to understand the terms of the loan told to me by word of mouth by a person from the loan company.

Fortunately the driving school was hungry for my business, so they intervened it seems and a second phonecall was arranged for the next day when my wife and I would be at home together. When the call arrived I put the caller on speaker-phone so my wife could also hear and as the person from the loan company went through the details my wife quietly translated and I was able to give an informed, “Hai! Wakarimashita”, each time. Then I was asked my date of birth, which I gave, and that was that. Job done.

Just one further point, which I partially mentioned in an earlier post. The cost can vary if you miss or mess up a lesson. If you cannot get on top of what the instructors ask you to do in a lesson, then you may have to repeat the lesson at extra cost. In saying that though, my third lesson was a mess and I did not show that I’d mastered the kyusedo (emergency stop), but the instructor put me thought regardless, fine chap that he is. I reckon he reckoned that I was just having a bad morning, which I was.

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