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Tuesday, July 15, 2003
Scooter worry, motorcycles and doctors
We own a Honda Today motor scooter here in Tokyo which we'd like to bring with us back to the U.S. next year. How can we find out if we can do this? -- Tokyo Jack
Dear Jack, I did it myself years ago when I was in school in Tokyo. I packed two motorcycles into crates, did all the paperwork and took them down to Yokohama.
The real difficult part was not in the preparation, sending etc., but meeting the various standards in the country I brought them to. In this case it was California and the smog standards were very strict.
These days things are much different, so I wouldn't recommend you do it yourself.
The best thing to do is to get in touch with our friend "Mike the Mover".
He can handle all the moving and paperwork. The only thing you would need to do would be to check the regulations on the country you are taking the scooter to.
Mike has a cool Web site now at www. xpstokyo. com and you can get in touch with Mike at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at (03) 5438-7631.
They have kindly helped us at The Japan Helpline for years.
If Mike can't do it, he'll definitely know someone who can.
Reader Charles Lipton has written in following on from our question about riding motorcycles in Japan.
As of April 1 of this year, he says, the law has been changed to forbid foreign residents of Japan from operating motorcycles on International Driving Permits.
Motorcycle licenses from your home country must be converted to a domestic license within some period of time after arrival in Japan -- possibly three months.
Also, if you have an unlimited bike license back home, it's only good for an up-to-400 cc license ("chuugata menkyoshou") here unless you take the dreaded large bike license ("oogata menkyoshou") test. The test is now much easier to pass and can be taken at a driving school if you take their upgrade course.
Charles was also desperately unhappy at our use of the "swish" word "motorbikes," which he believes should only be uttered by hairdressers. Sorry Charles.
From our readers
Reader Sreedhar, responding to a question from Daniel in Meguro who was looking for a doctor who specializes in ear, nose and throat, recommends Dr. Sakai at the Tokai University Hospital in Yoyogi.
He speaks English. The hospital's contact number is (03) 3370-2321.
Need a Lawyer? Call Mr. Watanabe at 03-3222 5361. They don't come any better.
A quieter, more supplicated part of Tokyo. Contact The International House of Japan at (03) 3470-4611. It's truly an oasis in central Tokyo, near Roppongi. Check out www. I-house. or. jp
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