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j-cars :: driving part I


15 Apr 2002
Just thought I'd add a bit more to the J-Cars thread.

Number plates.

There are no vanity plates in Japan. You can however pay for a certain number. I've heard of yakuza buying rights to certain numbers too.

There are 2 types of plates. The typical metal types and [keiko ban] a back lighted type. Really cool but cost about $300.

Back about 10 years ago the lighted types were really popular now those who still use them are on either older cars or young kids showing off. In a sense they've lost their popularity. My wife won't let me get one. hehe, my car just wouldn't fit with the plate besides.

Also, there is a special bolt covering that is supposed to prevent the changing of plates after a hit-and-run accident or some other type of nasty. Currenty I have a pet-bottle cap covering it. A drink character is on it :)

Next, are the different types of nubmers.
heres what it looks like basically.

Sapporo 500
ka 67-09

of course Sapporo is in Kanji and the ka is in hiragana.

I want to point out the 500 part.
This number comes in different variations: 300,500,800 and 400. these can also just be 2 digits like 30,40,50,80

The 3rd digit got added because there are so many cars on the roads these days.

split down:
30,300 = large engine size or wide bodies (2.2 liters +) new vw bug fits this category
40,400 = I'm not sure, but seems like a 4wd business/commercial designation
50,500 = most cars up to 2.2 liters (I think it includes 2.2 but body width is a consideratioin)
80,800 = cars that have been modified. Big Land Crusiers and Vans from the US. These cars go through cheaper taxation but check ups are yearly.

There is also a yellow number plate. Instead of a white background it's yellow. These are for all cars under 1000cc.

So in conversations you hear, I have a 3-number or yellow number car.

Later, I'll go into [shaken] "car inspection" and [shazei] "taxation".
In the States, the biggest trend right now with racers is to convert your car into Japanese specifications. This trend is called "JDM" (Japanese Domestic Market) I used to have a Honda (Acura in the States) Integra, and compared to the Japanese version, they are two totally different cars. I spent about US$6000 converting my Integra to Japanese-spec. I had to get the Japanese motor (which of course violates California emission laws) and I had the entire front end of a Japanese Integra shipped to California from Japan. This cost me quite a bit of money, but the head-turns and the carshow trophies made it worth it.

These are actual pictures of my Integra

BEFORE: USA-spec Acura Integra

AFTER: I Japanified my Integra, now we're set!

And this is why I no longer have this car:😭

Now I deciding if I should get a Subaru Impreza WRX or a Honda S2000 with the money insurance gave me, luckily that accident wasn't my fault. I'll be moving to Tokyo soon, so I may not get a car at all and use the money to buy a car in Japan.
ugh, that last pic fits your nic ....

gee, why didn't you tell me. I can get honda parts no problem. My buddy is a used car dealer specializing in Honda pocket rockets. He gave up on breaking 8 secs with his CRX though.

hmmm .... idea brewing here
@ tragety,,, you really owned this car?? wow!!! it must be nice too be rich lolol,, just kiddin,(its my sence of humour, yes I know it needs a little adjustment lol), thats the kind of car I only see in the movies, I dont ever recall sighting a car here of that standard or value, Question!! Is "Mitsubitsi" a japanese car? I have a Misubitisi and I love it, its difinately a womans car, easy handling ect, I have it just over a year and I love it, my husband is looking to change it again, but he does not drive so I wont let him lolol,(I had 2 rovers cars in 12 months and I found them quite heavy to handle) the first car (rover) was destroyed due to our lack of knowledge(I did not know cars had radiators), thats the truth, lolol, but I know better now, well a little more now,
hehe, water leak? oh well, things happen.

Yep Mitsubishi is a Japanese maker. What model?

Mitsubishi was the major maker of the Japanese figher planes especially the ones called "zeros".

They make all kinds of things these days; cars, pencils, TVs.
@ Moyashi:

A lot of people have tried to capitalize on this JDM trend. www.jdmhondaparts.com has been the most successful business in the JDM field. They're well known among racers here and this is where a lot of people get their parts. They charge a hefty price, but people dislike the Americanization of their Japanese-branded cars so much that they'll pay any price to bring it to Japan specifications. Also, a lot of people who live in Japan try to sell JDM parts through www.ebay.com


Yes, I actually owned that car. I wouldn't go so far as to say I'm rich, because this is not an expensive car! Brand new it cost US$19,000 which isn't very much according to American standards. Mitsubishi is a great brand, but in the United States, the Mitsubishi cars are different. Mitsubishi isn't too popular in the USA, I don't know why. Some older Americans refuse to buy Mitsubishi products because they are still mad about what happened in World War 2 when American POWs were forced to work in Mitsubishi factories. I think it's stupid that they're upset. What's done is done. Anyway, I don't know much about Rovers because Rover cars are not available in the USA.
Tragedy, is that JDM aftermarket on your Integra? Or maybe it's a year that isn't familiar to me. The front bumper cover and side skirts don't look like OEM JDM. The headlights and hood (minus the missing badge) look OEM style though. Just curious.
@ moyashi "what modle?" its a carisma, and it drives like a dream, I have it now almost a year and like I said I love it, she is 3 years old,but as good as new, as for the water leak episode that was hilarious!!! I have a mechanic who lives 2 doors away from my home, and on the day of the "leak" he was home for his lunch, I pulled up in my car and the steam was surrounding his home and the street, so as all gentlemen do, he came out to assist a damsel in distress,,lol,, when he raised the bonnet, he asked me when was the last time I had put water into the car, and I replyed "this morning before I left the street" he looked at me in total disbelief, and said "no you didnt" ask I tryed to convince him that I had, I realised that the level of the water was still at maximin, so I pointed it out to him and said in a confindant voice, "look its still up at the level", as he choked on his reply he said "thats your windscreen washer level, what about your radiator" and the rest I cant post because of due the vocabulary used hahaha,but I was the talk of the town for a week,lolol:D

@Tragedy Rover cars have a beautyful finish in chrome, around all the windows and bumpers ect, its the finish that attracted me to them, but to drive them is quite unreal, a sister of mine took my rover car for a spin one day and almost hit the curb as she found it extremely difficult to handle the turns and reversing, the second rover car I had was silver metalic with all the chrome trims, and she was a beauty, but sad to say dangerous, pins falling out of the clutch at 60 mile an hour with two kids in the back seat, could'nt keep it after that, cars are replacable, kids are not🙂
mini Rovers are quite popular in town. My father likes 'em too.

That's too funny. Windshield fluid. Well, it's colored at least :)

My wife has a habit to drive her car wife the side brake engaged. she figures it out eventually but ******* and complains that it feels sluggish. lol ... thank heavens it has only happened in winter on icey streets ... :)
I heard last year sometime that a manual test was being introduced over here and in England to teach and give knowledge to all drivers on tasks such as "wheel changing, engine matiance, brake and clutch fluid levels" now that I would totally have to agree with, when I first passed my drivers test and the theory test, I knew all the rules of the roads and how to drive a car,, the matinance was no priority,hence the destruction of my first car, lol,

@ side brake(hand brake) I'v been there too,lolol
I can definitely agree that a certain amount of car maintance training would be good for all drivers. You never know when and where a tire might go flat, or if your oil or radiator levels would drop low enough to cause your car to stop.

I've driven across America several times and in some stretches there is NO gas stand to stop for help. You can see signs that say next gas station 300 miles. If you didn't check carefully you could be stranded between such stations. Ouch.

Most Japanese don't know basic maintance and let there car inspection checks take care of everything every 2 years. Well, of course they do check their oil.
well, I learnt car mantainance the hard and expensive way,lol
maybe its the best way!!! I just went on a three day trip to Donegal, but before I left my home town I personally made sure all the levels where in order and as they should be!! maybe if the first total mistake had not have taken place, I two would be one of the millions who simply didnt have a clue!!!!! but as they say knowledge comes at a price!!!
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