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Well, I've been driving in Japan for a month now
and I think it's finally time to show you everything, absolutely everything!
Well, absolutely nearly almost everything
So, fasten your metaphorical seatbelts
and let's go and experience Japan in glorious High Definition video
Oh fuck it why do seatbelts do this?
Okay so the first thing i noticed is that this car is right-hand driven because in Japan they drive on the left hand-side of the road.
like in Britain
I thought this was a bit strange at first
until I remembered that Japan was ruled by the samurai
in the Edo Era between 1603 and 1867
And the preference was to move on the left hand side of the road
coz the samurai drew their swords with their right hand
So they could draw their swords and fight easier
Although it wasn't made official until 1872
when the British engineers helped the Japanese build their first railway
which was of course left-hand operated
So that's why Japanese people drive on the left hand-side of the road
Right then let's actually get going
Oh it's Japanese radio..
Japanese of course love Wham!
Okay so there are two reasons that might be obvious why I'm renting this car
The first is the pink Save the Earth sticker on the back
The second reason is that the Nissan March is a girl's car
It might be efficient, fun to drive and smell like the meadows of Narnia doesn't hide the fact that it's still referred as a "handbag car" for women
And the reason why I chose this car is because all the other cars in the rental place
looked like they were gonna fall apart after a 24 minute drive
I had originally intended to get a very specific type of car
when I came to Japan
called a Kei Car
Japan's very unique for having a very defined category of cars called Kei Cars
Basically it's a motor vehicle with a 660cc engine or below, God forbid
Because of its small size, Kei Cars are very economical
You can actually get to the outer rings of Saturn and back on a single tank of fuel
and still have enough to go to the Seven Eleven
and get Fried Chicken
And you can tell Kei Cars quite easily coz they have yellow number plates
whilst regular cars have white number plates
As I said i would've got one because the cost of running it is lower and the taxes are lower
But i'm inheriting a friend's car next year
So it might work out cheaper to rent my first year
Another reason why I got this big engine car
is because where I am turns to Antarctica next month during the winter
Not only that but where I live is on a plain, and it gets really windy
And it was my hope that having a bigger engine vehicle
come this winter I wont be starring in a live-action version of Chitty Chitty Bang-Bang
Still, regardless of what car you get
there is one thing that takes some getting use to
Drinking alcohol and driving in Japan
In most countries to my knowledge you can have a glass of wine or a beer
and get behind the wheel so you can have a few units
In Japan, if you so much as smell of alcohol and get behind the wheel of car
There are no units allowed and if you get caught driving
with any alcohol in your system
You'll lose your job, you'll probably get deported
and you'll most certainly be thrown out the back of a plane over the sea of Japan
Just to make sure you don't do it
I've seen it happen, it's not pretty, don't do it!
Instead, drink the Pungency
Drink that instead, coz you don't want to get deported
Oh ssssshit
But if you do want to have a drink with friends or work colleagues
and if you want to do that in the comfort of your own car, get there and back in your own car
There is one alternative to a taxi
It's actually cheaper and it's called Daikou
Daikou translated to Acting as Agent
Basically you ring up the company
They will send out a car with 2 guys in it
And when they get there, one guy will get out the car
You give him your keys and he'll drive you and your friends home in your own car
The other guy will follow you in the Daikou Taxi
And when you get back home, the guy who drove you will just pop back up in his DaikouTaxi and disappear in the night
So it's great coz obviously the next day when you're hungover, feeling like crap
you don't have to walk out to get your car you already got it at your place
And as I said before it actually works out cheaper
which I don't quite understand how but it does
It's popular in rural areas where public transport becomes a thing of the past after midnight
What it basically means is that nobody is left out
everyone can go out, drink and have a great night
Except Hitler
If you like the thrill of recklessly driving through the countryside on a sunny winter's morning
with a total disregard for the mortality of small creatures
Japan is not for you
Driving in Japan is quite a slow experience
With speed limits ranging from about 40km/h
which is 24 miles per hour
to a 100km/h which is 62 miles per hour if you're lucky
So whilst it's good for animals and creatures who like to dance on the way of oncoming traffic
It actually means that most journeys take longer than time itself
If you're honestly thinking about taking a long journey in Japan
I would honestly consider taking a coffin
Because you are gonna need it by the time you reach the end of your destination
Should you reach the end of your destination
Perhaps if you are thinking of taking a really long journey
I'd recommend you take the highways I mentioned earlier that go up to a 100km/h
Oh no, please be in English...
So if you are a millionaire you can actually drive around Japan on the highways
which are all toll-operated
The only trouble is I found you need one or two things
Either a car stuffed with cash
Or a car stuffed with passengers with cash
to be able to afford the journey
I recently had planned to travel down to Osaka which a few hundred kilometers south from where I live
And the actual cost of going down there one way, was 21000 yens
which is of course, enough money to start your own religion
You could also avoid the highways and go down smaller roads, a friend recently did that and avoided toll rates
so it's do-able, you just have to decide what's important
your time or your money
and for him it was his money
So if you're thinking about driving round Japan
Have a lot of money, or have a lot of people in your car
or catch a train
Driving in Japan, this time of year
is an absolutely breath-stealing experience
the scenery, the leaves, the mountain and everything
it's just beautiful, it really is
and it's very dangerous coz you spend your time looking at it all, and not on the road
And to me it's obvious why Japanese lead the way in camera technology
why they have so many companies that make such great cameras
Because they take one look around at the mountain, the leaves, the streams, the rivers and everything
and thought "how could we share this with our friends and family on facebook and instagram?"
And that's how all these companies (Nikon, Fujifilm, Canon), were born
Now I think that's as good a reason as any
to get a car, to drive around
to be able to see and experience it all
whilst listening to Ray Charles