Being back in Japan means getting accustomed to driving here again. Like the U.K., Australia and New Zealand, Japan drives on the left side of the road, a policy put into place in the Edo Period supposedly so that the swords of samurai riding or walking would not come into contact with the swords of oncoming samurai, which would be cause for an immediate battle between the two parties. Getting used to driving on the left isn’t difficult at all — I just go the same way as the other cars on the road, remembering to keep myself closer to the center of the road than someone sitting in the passenger seat would be. A bigger problem is avoiding the embarrassment of accidentally putting my windshield wipers on when I mean to make a turn (since the controls are reversed), or going to get into the car on the wrong side. Another big adjustment I have to make is taking a long time to get anywhere. In San Diego, it’s not hard to put a hundred miles on the car while running a few errands, thanks to the speedy freeways, my hair whipping in the wind, but it’s possible to drive for an hour in Japan yet only go a dozen kilometers.
Driving in Japan is different from in the U.S. (and slightly less fun).