What do you drive in Japan?

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dayunbao
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Re: What do you drive in Japan?

Post by dayunbao »

Zasso Nouka wrote:
Thu Feb 28, 2019 6:41 am
We have a couple of vehicles, our main one is a 40kwh Nissan Leaf. It's a lovely drive but the main benefit for us is not having to buy petrol anymore. Previously we used to spend around 30,000円 a month on petrol, now we spend 2,000円 on Nissan's ZESP2 card and have unlimited use of public fast chargers. Although Nissan fitted a 200v socket at home for us we hardly ever use it as the public chargers are plentiful and easy to use when you are out shopping or running other errands.

Pro Pilot makes driving on highways and large roads really easy as it takes over driving for you. It steers the car and maintains speed and brakes for you, all you have to do is keep your hands on the steering wheel. Long highway journeys are nowhere nearly as tiring as normal manual driving.

Being able to turn the HVAC system on from your mobile phone is a nice feature on frosty winter mornings so you don't get into a freezing car and the heated steering wheel and seats are also pretty comfy.

Acceleration has to be experienced to be believed, floor the pedal and it's like driving a missile. Proper thrown back in your seat kind of stuff, the torque is instant and as there are no gears to step up through it's continuous. Great for merging on a motorway.

If you get a Leaf2Home fitted it can act as a house battery which can be pretty useful during typhoon season or other emergencies or if you have solar fitted and want to use that power at night.

We also have a Daihatsu kei truck much like Shizuman's but ours doesn't have reclining seats :crying-yellow: and it's a real workhorse. We use it for hauling all sorts of things and it can get seriously overloaded at times yet still manages to make it home. It's a real trooper and the 4 wheel drive option means it never gets stuck no matter how muddy or snowy the terrain can be.

Previously we had a Daihatsu Move which was a really fun car to drive, it had a massive front window which gave great visibility and unlike many older kei's had loads of room inside. You could really stretch your legs out inside and didn't feel cramped at all, even with 4 people inside, you could even lay the seats out flat and use it as a camper. We never felt like the engine was straining on the highway, ok a sports car it is not but it could hold it's own quite easily.

If you are looking for a nice 2 person car with plenty of luggage space and occasionally needing to accommodate 4 people then a Move could be a good choice. We took ours all over the place and had some great trips up into the mountains to visit hot springs.

My only criticism would be that the engine isn't designed for longevity, once they get to around 160,000 - 200,000km they start to get very expensive to keep going.
I didn't know that Japan had so much EV infrastructure in place. That's good to know. I would like my next car to be at least a hybrid, if not a full EV, if possible. Hopefully there will be a wider selection of hybrid/EVs in Japan by the time I move there. I recently read an article written by someone who drove an EV in Quebec, Canada in the middle of winter. That part of Canada is supposed to have a high number of EVs on the road, as well as a (relatively) large number of charging stations. The author still had a rough time of it, though, but that was largely due to the weather and where he was driving (straight from the city out to the countryside and back). Where I currently live, every time you spit you hit a Tesla. So the drawbacks that author faced don't apply here, or possibly in Japan.

Have you all seen Honda's EV prototype? I really like the way it looks: https://jalopnik.com/honda-shows-a-near ... 1832934529.

I had lunch with a coworker who spent the whole time bitching about how EVs are actually worse for the environment than ICEs because batteries are so toxic. Not sure I totally agree with him, but he does have a point.

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Re: What do you drive in Japan?

Post by LeeB »

"I'm in America, and anything smaller than monster trucks and giant, bloated SUVs are disappearing from the roads. If either of those kinds of vehicles hit me in a car that old, it'd crumple like a paper cup."

Well I'm in Australia and you can say the same thing.

Was driving to work one morning several years ago - 6:00am and stopped for a red light. Nothing else on the road near me at the time.

Then all of the sudden - BAM.

Some lady smacked me in the rear. She got out of her car carrying one of those big smart phones and started in on me: "Why did you back up into me?".

Yeah sure - she was either talking on the phone or texting and ended up hitting me. Looked up too late to stop.

Took a look at her car and the front end was smashed with fluid leaking all over. My nice big 4WD? A little paint on the bumper. Called the Highway Patrol and as soon as they got there she started in on them too, but the cop took one look at the accident and told her: "Lady, you ran into the guy. It is your fault.".

So yes, a big solid machine is best as we found out a couple of months later when the same thing happened to my daughter. She was back ended at a red light by some dolt texting on his phone during the rain no less. Totaled her car and then started a long process that involved a couple of insurance companies. What a mess even though he admitted fault.................

Only problem with the car is that the V-6 uses lots of gasoline. As many people in Oz will tell you, prices here move up and down like a yo-yo. The last price cycle the low was A$1.179 a litre and then the next day it was A$1.499. It is now A$1.369. And prices can vary by 10 cents a liter in the same suburb.

(I missed the low of the cycle this time, but I usually filled the car and two 20 litre jerry cans as well when it gets cheap.)

Way back when they used to have all sorts of deals in Japan. You could buy a prepaid card at McDonalds and also use it to buy gasoline and gets so many yen off per liter and also coupons for 'free' fries or burgers if you bought a 10,000 yen card. Got 'free' stuff for the kid and her friends for ages doing that.

Do they still have those cards?

Anyway, my first car in Japan was a Toyota Corsa. And my last car was at the other end of the spectrum - a Nissan Laurel with the nice big V6 in it -a land boat!! Nice car and nice ride.

Cars appear to be much cheaper in Japan now than when I lived there. And used cars also appear to hold their value better. When we left, we ended up selling the car for export.

Big mistake as we should have brought it with us as a similar car was selling for big bucks here at that time.

No Nissan Leafs here and Tesla's can cost up to A$250,000 for a new one.

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Re: What do you drive in Japan?

Post by dayunbao »

LeeB wrote:
Thu Feb 28, 2019 1:42 pm
"I'm in America, and anything smaller than monster trucks and giant, bloated SUVs are disappearing from the roads. If either of those kinds of vehicles hit me in a car that old, it'd crumple like a paper cup."

Well I'm in Australia and you can say the same thing.

Was driving to work one morning several years ago - 6:00am and stopped for a red light. Nothing else on the road near me at the time.

Then all of the sudden - BAM.

Some lady smacked me in the rear. She got out of her car carrying one of those big smart phones and started in on me: "Why did you back up into me?".

Yeah sure - she was either talking on the phone or texting and ended up hitting me. Looked up too late to stop.

Took a look at her car and the front end was smashed with fluid leaking all over. My nice big 4WD? A little paint on the bumper. Called the Highway Patrol and as soon as they got there she started in on them too, but the cop took one look at the accident and told her: "Lady, you ran into the guy. It is your fault.".

So yes, a big solid machine is best as we found out a couple of months later when the same thing happened to my daughter. She was back ended at a red light by some dolt texting on his phone during the rain no less. Totaled her car and then started a long process that involved a couple of insurance companies. What a mess even though he admitted fault.................

Only problem with the car is that the V-6 uses lots of gasoline. As many people in Oz will tell you, prices here move up and down like a yo-yo. The last price cycle the low was A$1.179 a litre and then the next day it was A$1.499. It is now A$1.369. And prices can vary by 10 cents a liter in the same suburb.

(I missed the low of the cycle this time, but I usually filled the car and two 20 litre jerry cans as well when it gets cheap.)

Way back when they used to have all sorts of deals in Japan. You could buy a prepaid card at McDonalds and also use it to buy gasoline and gets so many yen off per liter and also coupons for 'free' fries or burgers if you bought a 10,000 yen card. Got 'free' stuff for the kid and her friends for ages doing that.

Do they still have those cards?

Anyway, my first car in Japan was a Toyota Corsa. And my last car was at the other end of the spectrum - a Nissan Laurel with the nice big V6 in it -a land boat!! Nice car and nice ride.

Cars appear to be much cheaper in Japan now than when I lived there. And used cars also appear to hold their value better. When we left, we ended up selling the car for export.

Big mistake as we should have brought it with us as a similar car was selling for big bucks here at that time.

No Nissan Leafs here and Tesla's can cost up to A$250,000 for a new one.
Yeah, a lot of people here are switching to larger vehicles because they think they are safer. The only problem is that fatal car accidents have risen in direct proportion to the rise in truck/SUV ownership. So I'm not convinced the saftey angle is totally true, but may be so long as you're the one in the larger vehicle in a accident. Would you or your daughter have gotten off so easy if the other vehicle had also been a truck/SUV? That's a serious question, by the way, not me being cheeky. I think about this a lot, and wonder if I may not have any choice but to end up getting a bigger vehicle just to protect myself.

I remember that before mobile phones existed, if you saw someone driving erratically, you assumed they were drunk. Now you just assume they are on their phone.

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Re: What do you drive in Japan?

Post by Zasso Nouka »

dayunbao wrote:
Thu Feb 28, 2019 8:45 am
Have you all seen Honda's EV prototype? I really like the way it looks: https://jalopnik.com/honda-shows-a-near ... 1832934529.
It does look like a fun car to drive and the design looks fun too. The range is a bit low but for city driving it would be ideal.
dayunbao wrote:
Thu Feb 28, 2019 8:45 am
I had lunch with a coworker who spent the whole time bitching about how EVs are actually worse for the environment than ICEs because batteries are so toxic. Not sure I totally agree with him, but he does have a point.
It's a good point and the batteries certainly do contain some exotic chemicals but the important difference is that batteries can be recycled so they don't pollute the environment whereas gasoline is a one use product that is released into the environment after use.

Folk often also bring up the mining of lithium and other components as being environmentally unfriendly and I guess it probably isn't benefiting the environment greatly but then drilling for oil isn't exactly favourable for the environment either, I'm thinking Deepwater Horizon and Exxon Valdez here.

Do you have a US driving license ? You may have to take the Japanese driving test if your state doesn't have a reciprocating agreement with Japan. I have no idea which states have agreements.

There are a few quirks you might want to be aware of when driving around Kanto (not sure if these are a thing elsewhere or it could be only a Chiba thing).

Red traffic lights are more of a hint rather than a definitive signal to stop, many drivers here seem to think it's fine to sail through a red light if it's only just changed in the last 30 seconds or so. Might be worth checking in both directions before pulling away after your lights have changed to green.

Older drives seem to love coming out from a side turning right in front of you and relying on your brakes being in good working order. You'll see them waiting to turn up ahead of you even though there might be no one in front of you and then just before you get to where they are they'll shoot out and you'll have to slam the anchors on.

Indicators are more of an afterthought. You might have learned to use indicators well before your intended turn but many older drivers here don't subscribe to that way of driving at all and if they use them at all it's only after they have slowed down and started to turn. So if you see the car in front slowing down for no obvious reason it's quite likely they are about to turn.

Reversing onto a road from a hidden entrance also seems quite popular. Not sure if this is because they never learned to reverse park or just have immense faith that nothing will ever come of it but it's one of my pet hates.

For the love of all that's holy get a drive recorder fitted to your car or download an app on to your smartphone once you start driving, you are going to need it.

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Re: What do you drive in Japan?

Post by dayunbao »

Zasso Nouka wrote:
Fri Mar 01, 2019 5:44 am
dayunbao wrote:
Thu Feb 28, 2019 8:45 am
Have you all seen Honda's EV prototype? I really like the way it looks: https://jalopnik.com/honda-shows-a-near ... 1832934529.
It does look like a fun car to drive and the design looks fun too. The range is a bit low but for city driving it would be ideal.
dayunbao wrote:
Thu Feb 28, 2019 8:45 am
I had lunch with a coworker who spent the whole time bitching about how EVs are actually worse for the environment than ICEs because batteries are so toxic. Not sure I totally agree with him, but he does have a point.
Do you have a US driving license ? You may have to take the Japanese driving test if your state doesn't have a reciprocating agreement with Japan. I have no idea which states have agreements.

There are a few quirks you might want to be aware of when driving around Kanto (not sure if these are a thing elsewhere or it could be only a Chiba thing).

Red traffic lights are more of a hint rather than a definitive signal to stop, many drivers here seem to think it's fine to sail through a red light if it's only just changed in the last 30 seconds or so. Might be worth checking in both directions before pulling away after your lights have changed to green.

Older drives seem to love coming out from a side turning right in front of you and relying on your brakes being in good working order. You'll see them waiting to turn up ahead of you even though there might be no one in front of you and then just before you get to where they are they'll shoot out and you'll have to slam the anchors on.

Indicators are more of an afterthought. You might have learned to use indicators well before your intended turn but many older drivers here don't subscribe to that way of driving at all and if they use them at all it's only after they have slowed down and started to turn. So if you see the car in front slowing down for no obvious reason it's quite likely they are about to turn.

Reversing onto a road from a hidden entrance also seems quite popular. Not sure if this is because they never learned to reverse park or just have immense faith that nothing will ever come of it but it's one of my pet hates.

For the love of all that's holy get a drive recorder fitted to your car or download an app on to your smartphone once you start driving, you are going to need it.
I do have a US driver's license. It looks like that means all I have to do is take a written and driving test to get a Japanese driver's license.

Thanks for the driving advice. While I lived in Asia for ten years before coming back to the US, I never drove there. Sadly, some of the things you described sound a lot like California drivers.

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Re: What do you drive in Japan?

Post by LeeB »

"Sadly, some of the things you described sound a lot like California drivers."

Japan doesn't sound too bad now. Didn't have much problem when I lived there. I did get clipped at night on the way home by a slight drunk driver when I had the Corsa, but there wasn't much damage and I was going to get rid of the car anyway. Let the guy go.........could have been a total ass and put him through the wringer or got a good bunch of cash out of him.

(No mobile phones back then either.)

As I put up in other posts Australia is a nanny state especially when it comes to fines and especially so when it involves driving.

I think there are a couple of problems with drivers here. One has to do with the terrible state of roads and congestion.

The other is that we have so many new immigrants from all over the world that really, really don't know how to drive, don't understand the road rules, and are ignorant of the road conditions. Put it together with congestion and its a mess.

A few of my pet peeves here:

1. People tailgate here a lot. And not only do they tailgate, they are obnoxious and prone to road rage when doing it. It happened to my wife when she was driving on the highway and it scared her quite a bit. It happened to me when we lived on the Gold Coast and that story had a nice little ending to it.

2. Even though we have speed limits many people seem to be able to get away with it and speed down the road and usually do it conjunction with changing lanes every couple of hundred meters.

3. The dolts getting on and on the freeways. Good God Almighty. They'd be splattered all over the freeways in the USA and probably Japan the way they on and off the freeways here.

Many people slow down on the freeway prior to the exit and cause problems for everybody behind them. Get off the freeway and then slow down!!

Then when they get on the freeway they limp on at 20 or 30 kilometers per hour less than the speed limit even though there is nobody blocking their way onto the road. By the time they get on the freeway everybody behind them has to slow down.

4. Motorcycles. Generally not a problem, but they allow something called lane filtering - they can drive between cars on the road, but IIRC they are only supposed to do under 30 kph. On the freeways some of these idiots will zip between the cars going 80 kph or more.

Lots of motorcycle crashes and deaths last year here in Victoria.

5. Mobile phones. Yes, it is against the law to use them in your hot little hands while driving, but people still do it. Big fines too if you get caught. And what I find interesting it seems a lot of the people doing this are driving nice BMW's and Mercs!

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Re: What do you drive in Japan?

Post by gonbechan »

LeeB wrote:
Fri Mar 01, 2019 11:54 am

Japan doesn't sound too bad now.
Japan is perhaps the worst it has ever been.
Before, most people had private car insurance above the 3rd party mandatory insurance. Now many people don't have personal insurance to cover damage to the other vehicle.
Also with the mandatory 3rd party insurance (pays only for bodily injury), the victim has to pay upfront for medical expenses and then claim for reimbursement, which again only covers to a certain amount.

There is also a huge rise in insurance scams and shakedowns for cash, and an astonishing rise in road rage, which used to be pretty rare in Japan.
Having a dash cam drive recorder is almost a must nowadays.

It used to be that for the most part Kansai had a bad rep for aggressive drivers but now it seems to be a national phenomena.
Then,of course, you have the Prius drivers. :D
Yes, it really is a thing. Go to youtube and search for ドライブレコーダー プリウス or 今日のプリウス


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Re: What do you drive in Japan?

Post by dayunbao »

Damn, LeeB's descriptions sounds like California driving, too! My current pet peeve is how people feel the need to redline their car every time the traffic light turns green...even if there's another traffic light one block ahead that's red.

I thought I was the only person who noticed how Prius drivers behave on the road. Around where I live they seem to think they have Teslas in Ludicrous Mode.

I'm moving in a few weeks, and so won't need to drive my car to work anymore. I'm really looking forward to spending less time in the car. I'm so sick of dealing with idiots on the road, and my current commute isn't long or particularly traffic heavy.

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Re: What do you drive in Japan?

Post by Zasso Nouka »

LeeB wrote:
Fri Mar 01, 2019 11:54 am
5. Mobile phones. Yes, it is against the law to use them in your hot little hands while driving, but people still do it. Big fines too if you get caught.
It seems almost obligatory for huge truck drivers to be yammering away on the blower whilst driving around these parts or for folk to be watching telly whilst driving. Honestly driving with your full concentration can be dangerous enough let alone while watching tv.
gonbechan wrote:
Fri Mar 01, 2019 2:00 pm
There is also a huge rise in insurance scams and shakedowns for cash, and an astonishing rise in road rage, which used to be pretty rare in Japan.
Having a dash cam drive recorder is almost a must nowadays.


There does seem to have been quite a steep rise in road rage incidents recently.

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Re: What do you drive in Japan?

Post by LeeB »

"...card and have unlimited use of public fast chargers. Although Nissan fitted a 200v socket at home for us we hardly ever use it as the public chargers are plentiful and easy to use when you are out shopping or running other errands."

Yeah I noticed the chargers at Narita Aeon Mall. Don't know if they are free and didn't see anybody using them the times we were there.

Unfortunately in Australia unless you live in the CBD areas of Melbourne or Sydney you need a car here. As I have posted before, public transport here is very bad.

They are working on the train system here in Melbourne and it seems almost every weekend the trains are shut down for work. I wanted to go to a club meeting about 45 kilometers from where I live today by train, but one of the train lines is shut down and I would need to take a bus for part of the journey which would add at least 45 minutes to the trip each way (If they showed up.................).

Weekend travel on the Melbourne train system is also free for old retired farts like me with a 'Seniors Card'.

And with the extra traffic on the road along with the expected temps of around 37C, I didn't want to drive so I'm not going. I'd rather sit on the train and read a book than battle idiots on the roads.

And the big event for trains is yet to come............they are shutting down the nearest train line for about three weeks for additional work. So when that happens it is going to be utter madness on the roads during the rush hours.

Glad I don't have to travel to go to work anymore.

Spent a huge amount of time on trains and buses when I lived in Japan and I really do miss that excellent public transport system.

Loved that video gonbechan put up!!

Yes, there are idiot drivers all over the world.

The last three years I lived in Japan I was tired of catching all sorts of colds - mostly from that travel on the subway and buses so I started going to classes by bicycle. It was usually faster to do that than drive or take public transport. Once in a while I ran to the schools if I only had classes at one school. (Young and dumb to run 20 klicks round trip.)

Off to the main school in the morning and then let the class out a few minutes to change and ride to the next school and have lunch there - usually with the students. (I told those students that I had lunch with them more than with my wife!!!) And then back home after class. A good 40 or so klicks a day for that trip.

Only had one accident when I ended up spraining my ankle when I came off the bike after hitting some gravel. And I missed getting doored by a few centimeters one day.

But the biggest 'surprise' I had one day was when I was riding on one of those small roads between the rice paddies and there was a kei car coming the other way!!! Down into the paddy I went. I was ticked off and wet.

Longest trip I took on the bike was from Nagoya to Asuke on the Sanage Green Road. Nice ride and the hills on the road allow you to really get some speed going. Beautiful scenery in Ausuke (Korankei).