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_ HalfDork
6/11/19 1:46 p.m.

So I will be taking a trip to Japan at the end of August. One of the things I have done is rent from Toyota a FRS for a leisure drive up a famous mountain pass.  I have a gaming simulator at home and I have set the rig up so it is right hand drive to help me get the muscle memory down for shifting with my left hand.

What I would like to know is if there is any gaming simulators or any tips anyone has for  preparing to drive in another country on the other side of a car. I’m trying to mentally play out making left and right hand turns from stop signs and lights, or merging onto and off freeways, its hard to retrain the brain...

maybe It’s one of those “when in the scenario your brain adapts” kind of things? 

Streetwiseguy
Streetwiseguy MegaDork
6/11/19 1:52 p.m.

Dont know about sims, but my limited experience suggests placement in lanes can be an issue, remembering to look the correct direction is important.

You are more likely to die as a pedestrian than as a driver.  Look Right!

stafford1500
stafford1500 Dork
6/11/19 1:53 p.m.

Your first day will be spent walking to the wrong side of the car...

_
_ HalfDork
6/11/19 2:05 p.m.
stafford1500 said:

Your first day will be spent walking to the wrong side of the car...

Lmao. Correct!

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
6/11/19 2:19 p.m.

The only time I have a problem is in parking lots. Out on the road, the orientation of the signs will help a bunch. The biggest problem is liable to be right turns and maybe roundabouts. Freeway merging is pretty hard to get wrong.

I've spent a fair bit of time driving on the left in various countries. It takes me no time to adapt other than the parking lots. It takes me longer to recalibrate when I get home.

californiamilleghia
californiamilleghia HalfDork
6/11/19 2:27 p.m.

Did you ever try to downshift and grab the door handle !

Yeah you are trained to shift with your right hand....and that's where the door handle is !

My biggest problem was turning right or left at a corner and pulling into the wrong lane !

Main thing is do not drive if you are tired as you revert back to your instincts , don't ask me how I know !

 

 

 

..

.

Duke
Duke MegaDork
6/11/19 2:31 p.m.

I drove in England for a week with no RHD experience.  It was a manual trans Civic.

Honestly, it wasn't nearly the issue I thought it might be.  Pedals and pattern are the same.  Shifting lefthanded was no problem.

I did have some trouble with lane placement and nudged a curb or two on that side, but I never had problems remembering which side of the road to get on and which way to look.

Have fun!  It sounds like a great trip.

_
_ HalfDork
6/11/19 2:43 p.m.

In reply to Duke :

Should be. Hitting japan Disney (ugh... wife is a Disneyholic) and hen crushing Tokyo and seeing sumo matches and several other sites. We end the trip with a ryokan, onsen, lake ashinoko, and the legendary Hakone Skyline pass (the one featured in MCM’s turbos and temples 2). 

Thank god hakone is a smaller town and most of the driving is rural. I wouldn’t try this in Tokyo. 

Hey Keith, are there any rare Miata parts that were japan only? Anything I can smuggle back?

johndej
johndej HalfDork
6/11/19 2:52 p.m.

Following this closely as just booked a 10 day trip in and out of Tokyo in October.

_
_ HalfDork
6/11/19 3:02 p.m.

In reply to johndej :

How long will you be there and what have you planned so far? Business or pleasure?

sleepyhead the buffalo
sleepyhead the buffalo Mod Squad
6/11/19 3:05 p.m.

you've got an international driver's license, right?  pretty sure you have to have one of those to drive in Japan, iirc?

CyberEric
CyberEric HalfDork
6/11/19 3:06 p.m.

I've spent quite a bit of time driving in England and Ireland in manual trans cars. Never been to Japan though, so YMMV.

Best tip I got was to keep everything to your right. When you turn onto the street, keep the car coming toward you to your right. Keep the center lane to your right. That means putting your side, the right side of the car, closer to oncoming traffic, which can be an odd sensation at first.

The process is a bit surreal at first, but your brain will adjust quickly.

Two challenges for me:

Roundabouts. Often had a hard time with these, especially when shifting. I made a lot of people angry ha.

Fatigue. The more tired I got, the more difficult roundabouts became and shifting with the left hand. I found myself reaching for the door handle with my right hand instead of the shifter with my left. 

Lane placement can be tricky. My wife would often put a tire a little off the shoulder on the tight roads.

Re international license: I never used one and I've rented cars in many countries.

Duke
Duke MegaDork
6/11/19 3:13 p.m.

20 years ago in England I just used my US state license.  That is of course practically irrelevant at this point.

If you are (or have a friend who is) a member, call and ask AAA.

_
_ HalfDork
6/11/19 3:24 p.m.
sleepyhead the buffalo said:

you've got an international driver's license, right?  pretty sure you have to have one of those to drive in Japan, iirc?

Got that last month. It was comically easy. Step 1) visit AAA. Step 2) have them take your picture. Step 3) fill out the form with the same info you gave Facebook. Step 4) toodle around the AAA store while they do everything for you. Step 5) receive “license”. Step 6) destroy another country’s roadway infrastructure with your gross incompetence. 

wae
wae SuperDork
6/11/19 3:38 p.m.

Biggest problem I had driving in London was when making a right-hand turn and figuring out which side of the road I needed to wind up on.  Otherwise, it was pretty much get in and go.

Oh, and constantly trying to get in the wrong door.

johndej
johndej HalfDork
6/11/19 4:33 p.m.

In reply to _ :

Pleasure, just booked so just now starting to make arrangements. Probably a few days in Tokyo then out to another city or two.

LanEvo
LanEvo Dork
6/11/19 4:35 p.m.

When I was 13, my dad taught me how to drive his Daihatsu Mira the Yamagata-Hiroshima countryside. The weirdest thing is (unlike the UK) Japanese RHD cars have the wiper and turn-signal stalks reversed. That's a LOT harder to get used to than the shifter believe it or not.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
6/11/19 4:58 p.m.
_ said:

 

Hey Keith, are there any rare Miata parts that were japan only? Anything I can smuggle back?

As you know, everything Japanese is better :) See if you can bring back one of the coupes. Otherwise, I don't pay a lot of attention to JDM magic juju.

First time I drove a Lotus Seven, I didn't even realize it was RHD until I got out of the car. That's how little having the shifter on the wrong side bothers you.

alfadriver
alfadriver MegaDork
6/11/19 5:04 p.m.

Don't over think it.  It will be odd for a few min, but you'll get used to it really quickly.

secretariata
secretariata SuperDork
6/11/19 5:08 p.m.

My experience is from a long time ago, but I was hyper alert/aware when I started driving on the right side & after a few weeks it became more normal and eventually subconscious. You probably aren't going to be there long enough for the uniqueness to wear off so you will likely not be able to stop thinking about it and thus won't be able to make a serious mistake. Coming back to the States after driving on the right side for nearly 2 years was where the "gotcha" moment occurred...

imgon
imgon HalfDork
6/11/19 5:19 p.m.

+1 on the paying attention when walking and crossing roads, that was more challenging than driving for me. As other have said shifting was fairly basic. I think the hardest thing for me was backing up and parallel parking. Enjoy

_
_ HalfDork
6/11/19 5:28 p.m.
johndej said:

In reply to _ :

Pleasure, just booked so just now starting to make arrangements. Probably a few days in Tokyo then out to another city or two.

For authentic bed and breakfast style Japanese royalty, check out the ryokans in Hakone man. I have a Japanese friend that tells me it is where the Japanese go for holiday/vacations. 

TurnerX19
TurnerX19 HalfDork
6/11/19 5:29 p.m.

Both times I drove in the UK I had no problems the first 2 days. The third day after the "unique" had worn off I had a few foibles when I was in a hustle. Then I had trouble on return to the statessurprise. No trouble at all from the car control positions, but I have been occasionally driving RHD in the states for over 50 years.

ae86andkp61
ae86andkp61 Dork
6/11/19 5:41 p.m.

The only challenge I had was the reversed control stalks on the column. An ex-pat assured me that locals would know what was going on when spotting a foreigner approaching an intersection in the dry with wipers on!

BlindPirate
BlindPirate Reader
6/11/19 5:42 p.m.
Keith Tanner said:
_ said:

 

Hey Keith, are there any rare Miata parts that were japan only? Anything I can smuggle back?

As you know, everything Japanese is better :) See if you can bring back one of the coupes. Otherwise, I don't pay a lot of attention to JDM magic juju.

First time I drove a Lotus Seven, I didn't even realize it was RHD until I got out of the car. That's how little having the shifter on the wrong side bothers you.

The first thing I thought of was a coupe. Might be hard to smuggle back.

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