Saturday, March 5, 2005

Efficiency Defined

In my i-excitement, I forgot to mention that my speeding ticket issue (from 11/18/04) got wrapped up on Friday. When we last tuned in, it was December and I had been interviewed at the police station about my "serious offense" and was waiting to hear about my next appointment -- an interview with a prosecutor where I would be interviewed, would go before a Judge, and then be told how much my fine would be. I got an e-mail on Wednesday that I had two appointments at the prosecutor's office on Friday -- 10:00 AM and 4:30 PM. It also said that my fine was determined to be ¥70,000, or about $700.00. The e-mail came with instructions on what to wear and how to act during the appointments.

I went in on Friday morning and was asked to sit in a waiting room for a while. I eventually was interviewed by the prosecutor, who wanted to know the exact same things that the police did in December. I told my story and answered questions. Next, the prosecutor had me wait while he verbally dictated my story to court reporter, so he could type up my comments. After that, the prosecutor had the statement read to me by an interpreter (remember -- we're dealing in Japanese this whole time) and I had to sign and finger print the statement to show concurrence. At the end of the appointment the prosecutor paused for a few minutes, and then asked, "Are you sorry?" I said that I was. How sorry? "Very sorry." Did I have any other comments? "Yes, I just want to apologize and say that I regret all the time that everyone has wasted on this problem." Get it? Me. I'm sorry for all the time I've wasted. He thought about my response, and then nodded, I guess meaning that I was sufficiently remorseful for the heinous crime that I had committed. He told me that he had decided that my fine would be ¥70,000, and that I could decide on one of two ways my case would be handled. I could request a trial, which would be organized within two weeks. At trial, I could plead my case and see what happened. The alternative was to return to the prosecutor's office at 4:30 that afternoon and pay the fine. I said that I would prefer to pay the fine.

At 4:30 I returned to the Prosecutor's office and had to wait again. Eventually a clerk brought me to the Judge's office, although I only spoke with the Judge's assistant. He wanted to verify the validity of the statement that I had made earlier in the day, and I had to sign something that said that I wanted to pay the fine instead of go through a formal trial. He said, "I see you have chosen the simple way."

Simple indeed.

Papers were signed and stamped, I waited a while longer, and then was given directions to the cashier's office. I paid the yen, and then had to wait for a receipt. A fee minutes later I was given the receipt, and the matter was officially closed.

And then I went out to my car, didn't put on my seat belt, and exceeded the speed limit the whole way home. Obviously, lesson learned.

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