One of the perennial pub discussion topics for JDM car nuts is always “If you lived in Japan, what car would you drive?” Now, it’s no great secret that cars are quite cheap to buy in Japan, and so you usually end up with something along the lines of “7 cars…one for each day of the week! On Mondays I’ll drive my Hakosuka….on Tuesday I’ll drive my FD RX-7…On Wednesdays, I’d rock my crazy bosozoku Cresta, On Thursdays…” You get the idea.
But the reality of life in Japan is that unless you live on a farm in the countryside, you will only have room for one car, and even so, the arrangements for keeping it at your house may not be what you’d expect!
Here’s a few scenes from deep in suburban Tokyo.
The first thing you should notice is that there is no “parking lane” on the side of the street. The street just…ends and there is hardly any sidewalk before the road ends and the houses begin.
Sure, some houses have a little alcove for practising your Jedi Parking Skills, but a lot of houses and apartment blocks don’t have them at all.
Which is why many people have to park in a council car park that is situated on every block. This isn’t free, I believe and can cost about $300 per mth for the privilege of parking your car out in the open, several hundred metres away from your home.
So quite often in the suburbs you see contraptions like these. These aren’t commercial parking stations like the hi-tech ones which scoop up your car and slot it into a Matrix-like grid deep in the building (those can cost $20 per hour in the popular shopping areas by the way). These are the parking arrangements for the residents of a nearby apartment block.
I’m sure you understand that instead of having a car park near a subway station, the Japanese will have a bicycle-parking station. There just isn’t any space for cars, and so if you lived in Japan for that hypothetical year, then you would have to only own ONE car.
Now that certainly makes that pub discussion a bit more complicated, now doesn’t it!