Monday, August 16, 2004

"Flying Taxi's"

1965 Tokyo was a bit ahead of itself when it came to taxi's.  If you can outrace a speeding train and cross the tracks just ahead of it..they will begrudingly let you have a taxi licence in Tokyo.

Little did I know, innocent that I was, that I was literally risking life and limb entering one of these cabs.

First of all, you approach the door and it swings open as if by magic...which is fine IF you avoid being hit by the door.  After all, nothing printed on the side of the cab to say STAND BACK AWAY FROM after rubbing an injured leg I entered the cab.

I still was trying to learn some Japanese and other than "Hai" "Yada Yada" "Eeya" I was out of luck.  So Tom had written down instructions for the driver in Japanese, which I proceeded to hand him.  Just getting him to take the paper & read it was hilarious.

After a short while of hand signals and vigorous head nodding we were on our way.  I had a friend who worked at the American Embassy so I was headed downtown for lunch.

Well, I thought for sure I'd never have lunch again because I was gonna die!  This driver put the metal to the pedal and never let up, we zoomed, we zigged and turned ... at one point we were head to head with a trolley train I swear we were running on it's tracks!

At that point I'm yelling, didn't care if he understood me or not.  The cab comes to an abrupt stop - door opens again like magic!  The driver turns to me smiling and says in halting english..."You ride okay?"  He was so earnest in his smile that I started to laugh....paid his fare and got out. 

Thankfully, my friend had seen me pull up and came out to greet me in front of the restraunt..otherwise I would of been a "crazy gaigin" laughing to herself alone on the street.

I think back and I have to laugh.


aiibrat said...

Different.  I wonder if the taxi service has improved much?

emfeasel said...

You must continue with the rest of the story....I really am enjoying your journal.


vwkwan said...

Oh that's a great story to share!!! I love hearing about other cultures.


avlncosmic said...

So surely all your taxi trips didn't include life threatening episodes,Did they?

sdoscher458 said...

Hi Alvin...thanks for your, what I did I had my husband teach me to say "Hi...My husband is Japanese....(in Japanese) that got their attention and then I would give them the address where I needed to go.  That sort of calmed down some of the taxi drivers from "showing off" their driving skills.