I made it in one piece. I did get lost a couple of times, but thanks to the cell phone I managed to get back on track. Driving in Japan is a nightmare. It's extremely difficult to navigate due to the layout of the roads.
Most of the country appears to have been built well before cars were invented. The roads are so narrow they are really only footpaths. Since a lot of roads run alongside rice paddies there are deep ditches along the sides of the roads. I drove into one of these once so I give them a wide berth these days. Today there was no option but to inch alongside them. Oftentimes the other side of the road will be bordered by someone's fence - common choice of material is six foot high concrete block. I've never scraped one of these, touch wood.
The other interesting (read frustrating) thing about roads here is the lack of street names and therefore signs. Each property is assigned a "plot number". These are not assigned in numerical order. It appears completely random although there is some method behind it.
Long story short, directions must be given with landmarks such as turn right at the little playground, turn left and drive under the overpass at the third set of traffic lights.
I'm really proud of myself. I drove along the highway to the next prefecture and navigated most of the way by myself. I bought a second-hand bunk bed which we two women loaded into the car ourselves. Then I drove home and have since packed the bed up into my attic until such time as I need it. It may not seem like much of an accomplishment but for me these "normal" experiences further demonstrate how much I have bloomed in the past year!