It’s a 96 kilometer (59 miles) drive from where we live to grandma’s house here in Japan. Back in the States, my grandma’s house was about the same distance at 93 kilometers (58 miles); however, while I could get to my grandma’s house in just a little over an hour, (Thank you 55 mph speed limit!) here in Japan, the same distance takes me over 2 hours! Behold, the 37 mph speed limit–even on the main road!
It’s not easy going from 88 kpm to 60 kpm, I’ll tell you that much! It feels like you are going sooooo slow, because you are. Now, before you think that I’m advocating to change Japan’s speed limit… guess again! Anyone who has had to drive in Japan will tell you that some of the roads here are unbelievably narrow! I remember riding in the passenger seat for the first time in Kumamoto when I first came here and thinking, “Are we gonna drive off the road into the ditch?!? This is so narrow! How can we be driving so fast on such narrow streets!?!”
So at this point you might be thinking, well, why not just take the highway? Well, the highway here is 62 mph (100 kpm), but it costs money–a lot of money. I have to fork out 20 bucks to get there (96 km / 59 miles each way). Compare that to the toll for the turnpike from Florida City to Wildwood, which costs a little over 20 bucks for 1,268 miles (2040 km)! That means if the same rates were charged in the States (that rhymes!):
$0.33 a mile (rounded down) = about $418.44 from Florida City to Wildwood
Can you imagine trying to enforce such tolls in the States? Where in the world does all this money go? That’s another blog post in itself, right?
Sigh. Until Japan decides to get more generous, I guess we’ll be taking the backroads. It might just be my imagination, but I feel like the number of cars here in the past 10 years has doubled or something. There are so many cars on the road! According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Japan has 91,377,312 registered vehicles and ranks 5th most in the world behind America, China, India, and Indonesia. Take into consideration that much of Japan is mountains and you can’t necessarily drive on all of them, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster! Gotta love modernization…
Stay safe, everybody! Stay safe!