Tuesday, October 09, 2007

A bit of a bump in the road

I can quite rightly say that I feel like I've been hit by a truck. It was a small truck at least.

Wayne and I had a full weekend planned this past weekend, though it didn't go quite as expected. Strangely enough, this time last year, we had the same weekend planned, but didn't make it to any of the festivals as Wayne was diagnosed as being "diseased in the head" and was admitted (or should I say commited) to hospital. I'm thinking of boycotting the same weekend next year.....

We started off the weekend well, did a bit of work, ran a few errands and had a really yummy pasta and pizza lunch. We then headed off to Mino city, in Gifu Prefecture that is famous for its paper. There, I stocked up on yuzen washi. The lovely town with preserved old wooden buildings was in full swing preparing for its annual lantern festival that we planned to go to that night.

We then started making our way to Seki, to meet our friend Natsuki and check out the Seki Hamono Festival, or rather the Seki Cutlery Festival. Sounds exciting doesn't it! It would be more accurate to call it the Seki Things-You-Can-Cut-Stuff-With Festival, as it is mainly swords and knives, hense Wayne was very eager to go. Sitting in the car at a red light, Wayne and I were reflecting on how nice it was to actually get out of the house for once and that we should do it more often, when BANG our car was thrown forward and bodies thrust about like car crash dummies.

When my brain stopped rattling, I looked behind us at the small truck that had run into us, and just as I was thinking that I needed to pull into the side street, there was a police man in the windscreen gesturing for us to do so as soon as the light turned green. They had seen it all happen.

The little old man that had hit us was shaking and confused. I didn't want to say anything to him as a friend of mine had dug herself into a hole in a similar accident a few years ago. She had gotten very angry at the man who had hit her new car and then later apoligised for yelling at him. He tried to use that apology as evidence that the accident had been her fault.

The two young policemen were friendly and helpful. It's funny what goes through your head at the time, I was thinking "I'm glad they saw what happened, I'm really glad I have a Japanese drivers licence and I really hope they don't tell me off for not having my learner driver sticker on the car like my Japanese licence says I should even though I've been driving for 14 years, three of those in Japan."

After a quick call and a chat to one of the policemen, Natsuki came to our aid. Communicating with the old man was difficult and we needed his details for the insurance company. Natsuki struggled with him for about half an hour until we finally got his name, address and phone number.

Luckily, there was very little damage to the car or to us. The hatchback now can't be opened so that will require repairing. If we had the same accident in Australia, it would be considered to be 100% the other guys fault. Not so in Japan. We are considered 5% liable, simply for being there.

We still made it for a quick look at the blades at the Seki festival, but still feeling shaken (quite litterally) and rather achey, we decided to skip the Mino Lantern Festival. The next morning we rose early, donned our festival happi coats and spent a day participating in a local village harvest festival. Rain hampered our festival plans for Monday, but to be honest, by then we were ready for a rest and a bit of quiet.


Contamination said...

I used to love laughing at fools over the phone who had car accidents claiming the other guy was at fault.

Caller: "The car in front of me stopped to avoid a cat and I ran into him. So he was at fault."

Me: "There's this little road rule about keeping a safe distance from the car in front of you. Have you heard of it?"

Caller: "Yeah"

Me: "There's a simple little test to see if you were observing that rule. If you don't hit the car in front of you, you're okay. If you do, you broke the road rules."

Caller: "ohhhhh..."

I had a Caffeine free weekend, and survived! Read about it at jDonuts.

azumarisan said...

Yeah, i was surprised to find that little fact out myself. I mean how can you be 5% at fault just for being there? That means that whenever you go out you're always going to be some % in the wrong before you even start!