Posted in General, Japanese

Driving Test

Yesterday, Wednesday 27th of July, 2016, my husband and I went for a practical driving test at Fuchu Drivers’s License Center (they use American spelling here). Malaysian drivers are allowed to use international driving licence for only up to one year in Japan and after that we need to have a Japanese driving licence if we want to drive in this country. We arrived in Japan on the 26th of July, 2015, therefore we definitely cannot use the international licence anymore. We do not own a car at the moment, but even if we want to rent a car, we still need to have a valid driving licence.

The testing place is 24 km away from our house. It takes nearly one and a half hours to reach there because we need to change train at Shinjuku and then take a bus from Mushashi-koganei station to the centre.We left home before 6 a.m. to avoid the morning peak hours and to ensure ample time to be there before 8:30 a.m.. I was anxious the night before the test and could not really sleep. I prepared breakfast at 5 a.m. and even the kids woke up early to have breakfast with us.

When we changed train from Shinjuku-sanchome station and walked to Shinjuku station to take the Chuo line, it was rather confusing. There were rapid and local trains and we decided to be on the safe side and took the local train which stopped at all stations. The train was not too crowded and we could still find seats. We thought we could go direct to Musashi-koganei but the train that we took  had a final stop at Mitaka. We had to go to another platform to find the train to go to Musashi-koganei. It turned out that we had made a mistake. The rapid train is the one that goes to Musashi-koganei and the local train only goes up to Mitaka. On the rapid train, there were many people, so we had to stand. From Musashi-koganei we took a cab to go to the test centre because taking a bus would be too confusing, we might get off at the wrong stop. The cab cost us 1,000 yen.

We reached Fuchu Drivers’ License Center at around 7:40. Before we went for the test, we had done a lot of research on the internet. We read tips and watched videos on Youtube. We had the general ideas on what to do but still I could not help feeling nervous especially because of my limited Japanese language ability. One of the tips we read suggested that we arrived early at the centre so that we could take a walk at the driving course (the test site). When we arrived, we saw a long queue of Japanese but only one other foreigner. We tried to take a peek at the driving course, but an officer said something to us in Japanese. We didn’t really understand what he said, but we could assume that he was telling us off, that the place was out of bound.

By 8 a.m., the door was opened. We went straight to the 3rd floor, counter 31 meant for matters relating to conversion of foreign driving licence. We joined the queue and when our turns came, submitted the envelope we brought with us. The envelope contained the translation of our Malaysian driving licence, juminhyo (a proof of address issued by the ward office), copies of our residence card and driving licence and application form which had been processed by Samezu Driving Test Centre one month earlier. (We went to Samezu back in June to do the first part of the application and to take a written test and vision test. The written test contained only 10 questions. We had to do it on a computer. Surprisingly, the questions were in Malay, rather than English. Then they gave the practical driving test for 27th of July.) The officer checked our documents and told us to have a seat and wait.

At 9 o’clock an officer came and gave a short briefing in Japanese. I thought we were ready to be tested, but no, we had to wait for some more. 2 more officers came. Officer 1 called out names of people and asked them to form a line in the order that he had told them. Those were people who were going to be tested by him. Then Officer 2 called out more names. I was no 4 and my husband was number 5 to be tested by this Officer. We also formed a line. Then he told us to follow him to go to another briefing room downstairs.

We followed him, told to sit in two rows of chairs, according to our numbers and then listened for another lecture. All these talks were in Japanese, I could probably understand about 5% of it, that’s how poor my Japanese is. We were told to turn off our phones. The talk ended at 9:30 a.m. and we were told to go outside.

This is already too long, so I’ll continue this tomorrow.

Posted in General

10 months in Tokyo

I’ve been so bad at maintaining this blog. One of my new year resolutions was to post regularly on this blog, at least once at week. Haha, I had failed miserably. It’s almost June when people at work do mid-year review of their Key Performance Indicator (KPIs) for the year. I had only posted twice this year, when I should have posted 20 times based on my resolutions. If I’m employed right now, I should not expect a bonus, I might even be demoted, if not fired.

I’ll just do a summary of my life for the past 10 months in my next entry.


Posted in General

We’ve moved to Japan

I mentioned about moving some time ago. Now, my family (except for my eldest who’s at a university in Melaka) has moved to Tokyo. We took the 11.30 pm flight on Saturday and touched down at Narita Airport around 7.45 am on Sunday the 26th of July.

Since then, we had been to Roppongi by train and then walked back to our temporary apartment. We decided to walk because we thought it was near and less than one km, but actually it turned out to be more than 2.5 km walk in the summer heat. The kids were exhausted.

Then on Tuesday we went for two school visits. In the morning we took a taxi to Shibuya because the appointment was at 9 and we didn’t want to be late. The school was located inside a university. It was a women’s university. Even though originally both my kids were on the waiting list, at the meeting the admission officer said there is a space available for my son Ar but Mel is still on the waiting list. However, the school is still waiting for the confidential report from my kids’ former school. The meeting and the tour ended after one hour. We came back to have lunch and perform Zohor prayer.

Then around 12.30 in afternoon we took a long train ride to Funabori to visit another international school. We had to change train twice, from Ginza line to Hanzomon and then to Shinjuku line.When we arrived at Funabori station, it took us another 10 minutes’ walk to the school. We met with the principal/head teacher of the elementary and secondary schools.  We got a lot of information, but still need to think about the school due to the distance. We arrived back at the apartment around 4 pm.

Then, I went to get a sim card for my phone so that I could have data access. In the apartment, we have wifi but when we go out, I might need to access the map/GPS on my phone, that’s why I need the data service.

Our apartment is on the 6th floor and we could see a very neat cemetery from our window. Sunrise is at around 4.45 am and sunset around 6.50 pm. Thus we need to get up very early to perform Subuh prayers.

Yesterday and today, my husband went to his office. The kids and I just stayed in because we were flat from our adventures on Monday and Tuesday. I just had to get out to get some food. I’ll talk about food in another entry. It’s not easy to find food that is Muslim friendly. We must be really careful in buying food and drinks.

Posted in Family


It’s my birthday today. I got a very nice painting from my daughter Fa .


The caption behind it reads:

Alhamdulillah, I’ve reached this age. May Allah bless me with growing iman and taqwa, beautiful and God-fearing children, a loving and caring husband who will strive together to reach jannatul firdaus, wonderful family and friends to  cherish. Amin.