Minis in Japan
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For our honeymoon, Emma and I decided on a trip to Japan. Neither of us had been there before and it sounded like a great place to visit. We both had a great time and thoroughly enjoyed our time there.
One thing I learned about Japan is that contrary to popular belief (if you watch a lot of films that is), Japan is not full of customised cars and street racers. What there is instead is a lot of these tiny boxy cars that I've never seen anywhere else before, and they all appear new. Wherever you look there are shiny new-looking small cars that look like a box. A lot of them have some features copied from popular cars. For instance there is a car called the Daihatsu Mira which looks like a Mini from a distance, but on closer inspection it looks more like a Nissan Micra crossbred with a Mini.
As the Japanese countryside flies by the train window you see farmers tending to their rice fields with a new car parked nearby. It's strange that everyone has a shiny new car. A fellow tourist told me that it's something to do with the emission laws out here and that people only keep a car a few years before getting another. Maybe they are cheap and you don't part-exchange so much as recycle? The rule doesn't apply to imports though as there is the odd Merc, Audi or foreign classic on the roads that are obviously older than a few years. All look in amazing condition though.
While checking out Geisha's in Kyoto we did come across the real deal, a little red Mini was parked behind a temple. After that we started seeing them here and there now that we knew they were over here. There was one in a car park, one in a field in the middle of nowhere, another outside some shops. None were modified or customised, all seemed pretty standard, as they would of looked the day they rolled off the production line, and still in immaculate condition. Japanese Mini owners appear to take very good care of their cars.