Car and Mobile Phone in Japan.
Next in our exciting series of "Mike Living in Japan" is the one-two punch of my car and my keitai (cell phone). First, my car. It's a special species of cars in Japan known as "kei" cars. Kei cars are essentially subcompact cars, that are engineered to fit within certain parameters set by the gov't such as of engine displacement, size, and horsepower.. If it qualifies, you can save a lot on insurance and inspections, not to mention savings on fuel. You can tell Kei cars apart from normal cars because they carry yellow license plates. There are kei trucks as well, although most Americans would have a tough time classifying them as such.
As for my car, it's a Mitsubishi Minica- they seem to be pretty common. I bought it off my predecessor, so I'm really not even sure what model year it is. It gets me from place to place though, and can actually be somewhat fun to drive being very small and nimble. It's got A/C as well. Just forget about acceleration and top speed. Anyway, some pics:
First, a side view. 2 doors, and a hatch back.
From the front. That's one bad machine.
Back view, see the yellow license plates?
Interior view- two adults can sit comfortably in the front, forget about the backseat. My knees are a little bit up into the steering wheel but not too bad.
Can you read the name on the tires? The Bridgestone "Sneaker". Cute.
Overall, a no-frills machine. Manual windows, probably no power steering, casette radio, no tach, no brights, about three wiper settings, no trip odometer, three gears. But for utility, it can't be beat. Easy to park as well.
Now for the cell phone. Japan has a well-deserved reputation for great cell phones, so I've been looking forward to getting another one for awhile. Unfortunately, I had to wait for my alien registration card so it took a little bit longer than I'd like. I stuck with au, which I used when I studied abroad, and by coincidence also got another Sony Ericcson phone, so it's very similar to the one I used previously. Even with this being the introductory model it's still far ahead of what you can find in the states.... music, movies, GPS, internet, you name it.
Closed view, you can see an LCD display and camera.
Opened up, unfortunately you can't see a lot of detail in this one.
Ridge Racer on a cell phone! This seems impressive, until you remember that the original Ridge Racer came out 13 years ago!!
Anyways, its pretty sweet, and you can ever put in a memory stick for even more capacity. Did I mention how much better the signal is as well?