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gtrlux
19-11-10, 03:39 PM
Hi guys,

Some peeps always ask me how it is to live in japan and to be part of the japanese domestic car culture. . .so I thought it would be a great chance to write this little essay on this forum, rather then keeping my experiences for my self.
I work in the car industry and live in Aichi prefecture, the home of Toyotas factories and HQ. Despite not living in Tokyo, the place to be for enjoying hardcore street car culture, the scene over here is vibrant in another way.
I will try to write down a few explanations and points I would like to share, as many peeps have interest in such topics, also many of you guys have lived in japan as well, so we can discuss point of views and experiences.:)

1) Car ownership, the japanese way!
You may think that in japan, the used car market is about the same then as in Australia, the US or in Europe, but in fact its the most unique and different used car market in the world.
In japan nobody buys a car from a private person, nor do you try to sell your car in private, through classfields, online, in magazines . . . or like on the this very forum. 99,99% of japanese car owners only trade their cars with dealers, specificly their old dealer, they have been dealing with since 30 years!
This culture goes back to the fact that japan is the only industrialized country in the world, where the population doesn`t actively trade goods and belongings from one private ownership to another (japanese don`t sell houses, don`t sell appartements, don`t sell fornitures, cars, bikes, bicycles, toys,ex . . . . .).
Why do they have this culture?
To make it short the japanese always want to be uniform, if somebody goes his own way through personal ambitions and courage, is regarded as bad. This culture has its roots in ancient Edo, where the howl japanese society was stuck and controled by land lords, where everyone had a specific task to full fill, with no room and tolerance for peeps who tried to take their life in their own hands . . . on the other side this enabled a big % of the population to live above poverty thanks to that system.

Private trading success favors the ones who try and go out of boundries, when the others get nothing . . . a reality that doesn`t match with the japanese way of harmony. This culture was even more pushed forward after WW2, when japan was ass poor. Single individuals gathering wealth was unacceptable.

2) How much do japanese invest in to cars then???
Much, very much . . . much more then in the west. probably to the fact that everyone feels an obligation to always buy and maintenance their cars at the same dealer, a bit like: "We all live in the same rough times and have to help out each other, without thinking about own selfish benefits."
So nobody actually tries to ask 10 dealers for the best price of a new car purchase, they just deal with the dealer.
Now performance car ownership is even more expensive, as the dealer or tuner will ask a lot of money to build your car. Prices are in the same region as tuning prices in europe germany for performance cars like Benz/Porsche or BMW at Schnitzer/Carlsson/Brabus/ Abt/ Hamann/ ex . . . . .
The only difference is that you trust your 10000$ tune to a little rusty garage, as you trust them in what they do, unacceptable in europe for example.

Japanese are free-riders in life, as life safty is not that great in japan and you just stuck to your job and use your money for lifestyle activities, rather then building a solid future with earnings. This means that your average salaryman with a 2500USD salary will verse his total usuable earning in to a expensive tune of his GTR for exemple, rather then in europe where peeps just stuck with the lifestyle that suits their salary best.
Japanese car enthusiasts spend much money on cars, with no reflection on returns, its lost anyway in their spirit. . . . fatality thinking!

3) This makes used cars and used tuned cars cheap!
With a few exceptions as GTRs and NSXs, to only name this two, each high tuned car will automatic loose 60% of its tuning value after a few month or even more. Owners have spend tons of money in their cars and have build little diamonds, then they move on (some have the money to do so, some have to sell) and the cars get bought for nothing by, now guess who??????? . . .yes the dealer they have been doing business since the beginning!
This means that the owner doesn`t get the actual market value back for his car, but just the value the dealer is able to afford giving him. Maybe out there are 10 peeps who would pay tons of money for that tuned GTR, but as you do not sell your car in private and the peeps who want your car also won`t engage in a private purchase, everything gets stuck with the dealer. (a intelligent dealer without scruples will sell the car with big margins after, especially through auctions, where foreign buyers know to appreciate such tuned cars)
Thats why still in 2010 you can get your hand on 600-700HP sub 1000miles professional tuned R32/R33 GTRs for the low price of about 25000USD . . . something you can`t get in europe if you look at high end professional tuned german cars.

4) Performance Car culture at large
So just consider all the points above and you will quick understand that japanese owners feel that they all sit in the same boat, the culture of feeling bound together in life is so great that even wealthy people act like being more poor out of concern to be out locked of the scene or community . . . when poor people get pulled up and interact on equal level in the car culture.
How many times I went to illegal races or meeting here in Aichiken and allways you meet rich peeps showing up with Ferraris or high tuned R35 GTRs, chating on the side walk with guys owning rubbish Silvia drift cars, they are barly able to afford the insurance, drinking coffee and enjoying car life.
Its a great thing and great culture, nobody goes there for the ego kick or to show off, you show off to interact and share, not to gain fame or respect in return.
Even the bikers join these meetings, considering that else where its bikers versus cars war!

5) Hasheria, Wangan, Midnight racing and top secret cars!!! . .a myth???
No, in japan as everyone tries to live in harmony, you can actually talk of mysterious cars showing up only on certain days at night, racing god damn fast (illegal).
In europe or australia or the US, such practices would fail dramatic as the chavs in their Hyundai 1.0 rubbish cars would just mob you up and start a fight out of fun and jealousy.
In japan these illegal super tuned cars cause never really grave accidents in comparaison to all sports car accidents in japan.
In Aichiken you have a 400meter race every first saturday of the month at a big junction in front of a SONY factory. First the usual suspects race, makes donuts, tuned bikes racing against tuned cars, ex . . . . then at some point one GTR pulls up, the fastest of the other lot will race against it, and fails dramaticly. . . . the mysterious GTR has complete destroyed everyone in the race.
. . . sounds dump, but its like a movie, and everyone accepts the domination and situation they just experienced. Nobody will follow the guy out of anger or tries to speak to him.
He or she is a lonely samurai and peeps like this image.

As a foreigner in japan, you feel like WTF, but you experience tons of great moments here and people are so open and friendly . . . I wouldn`t think I will share car culture anywhere more then in japan, especially not with so many strangers in such a intensive and gentle manner!


Amen to that, sorry for the long post:mrgreen::mrgreen:

Regards

Chris

D4NM4C
19-11-10, 03:58 PM
Amazing post!
I first hand know how humble the Japanese are and feel honoured to know my host family - the kindest people I have ever met.
Even when things turn to shit, they are still optimistic.

Babalouie
19-11-10, 04:11 PM
Nice work, Chris :)

gtrlux
19-11-10, 04:19 PM
Amazing post!
I first hand know how humble the Japanese are and feel honoured to know my host family - the kindest people I have ever met.
Even when things turn to shit, they are still optimistic.

Actually Japanese are never optimistic, they take life the way it comes without being to optimistic or negative. Taking things they the way they come and making the best out of it, without aiming to far for change.
Its a bit what we call in the west "ZEN" or undertstand by that. . . . even if Zen means a complete different thing.:)

D4NM4C
19-11-10, 04:26 PM
To me that's what optimism is though :)
You understood my point though.

nebuchernezzer
19-11-10, 04:28 PM
Actually in regards to the first one i think private sales are becoming much more common, probably due to Yahoo! auctions. I bought and cars privately in Japan, to Japanese people. Seems to be a bit of it going on, but it's not as common as it is in say Oz where every man and his dog buys and sells privately.

And yeah the rusty tin shed thing is funny for western people, even big name tuning houses in Japan are often single sheds next to the railway lines, saw a fair few packed little premesis when I was there.

That is all :).

Mr Happ
19-11-10, 04:33 PM
Nice work indeed Chris, beyond the car culture you have your finger on the pulse viz the Japanese mentality :)

JDM-20L
19-11-10, 04:34 PM
That was a great read! thanks for sharing. :)

Prancer
19-11-10, 04:38 PM
sweet read

gtrlux
19-11-10, 04:39 PM
Yes most japanese tuners garages look like from hell or just bombed by an airstrike . . . lol
But well the japanese climat is one problem and the unwillingness to spend money for renovation form the owners another one.

But you are right with people increasingly trading cars and good, thanks to the internet now. For thoses who know japanese politcs, know, that the recent new party in japan with prime minister Kan, which took over 60years of rule from the former party, wants to change 5 points in japanese culture:
1) The economy through foreign investement
2) Healthcare
3) Education
4) miserable pension systhem
and
5) Japanese people should engage in private trading, which will rise house prices and goods values.

With the decreasing export power of japan, do to a weak foreign exchange, japan must act and start to make money else where. This will dramaticaly change the landscape we have now in the JDM car industry and culture.
Another thing is that japan is the only high quality mass production powerhouse in the world with an industry configurated for customizable mass production. Where the west just produces singular high quality mass production. If the japanese changes in society and business will be so so radical , will we still see the share diversity in tuning parts and new affordable hightech in future??? Japan may mute to a new germany, where hightech is expensive, yet state of the art, but where is no space or money left anymore for customizable high quality mass production.???

Babalouie
19-11-10, 04:51 PM
To make it short the japanese always want to be uniform, if somebody goes his own way through personal ambitions and courage, is regarded as bad. This culture has its roots in ancient Edo, where the howl japanese society was stuck and controled by land lords, where everyone had a specific task to full fill, with no room and tolerance for peeps who tried to take their life in their own hands . . . on the other side this enabled a big % of the population to live above poverty thanks to that system. Private trading success favors the ones who try and go out of boundries, when the others get nothing . . . a reality that doesn`t match with the japanese way of harmony. This culture was even more pushed forward after WW2, when japan was ass poor. Single individuals gathering wealth was unacceptable.
Read somewhere that the typical American CEO earns something like 30x the average wage, whereas in Japan, it's more like 6x (mind you the average is a bit higher). There was an article in CAR magazine years ago, where they went to the homes of the car maker CEOs, and they were all quite modest in Japan compared to the mansions that the western ones lived in. One factoid that stuck in my mind about that article was that the son of Soichiro Honda (ie dude who owns Mugen) lived in a small house in his Dad's backyard :D


Owners have spend tons of money in their cars and have build little diamonds, then they move on (some have the money to do so, some have to sell) and the cars get bought for nothing by, now guess who??????? . . .yes the dealer they have been doing business since the beginning!
Funny you mention that. When I bought my Luce, it came with lots of paperwork from Japan. Turns out that bought from, re-sold and serviced by the same Mazda dealer for 20yrs! And when I was looking for the Hako, I was told that generally cars stay in their local neigbourhoods, but it was possible that with classic cars which are rarer, they might move to an owner in a different part of Japan, but this was unusual.

Also it was mentioned that classic car dealers make most of their money by the ongoing servicing/fixing of the car they sell. It seemed odd to me (at the time) that if a classic car dealer sold you a lemon, that you would still take it back to them later for maintenance and restoration :lol:

nirvanafan
19-11-10, 06:07 PM
great read thanks for taking the time to make such a long but insightful post keep up the good work.

Rallye
19-11-10, 06:14 PM
I was watching a documentary on this very subject not long ago. Another reason why the Japanese own and tune such cars is because land prices are through the roof. Meaning most live in small houses, so the only to show off yourself is via your car. Hence why they appreciate automobiles so much.

Nathan_S
19-11-10, 08:09 PM
Good little read there. Thanks for taking the time to write it up

surfbum64
19-11-10, 08:29 PM
Awesome read, makes me want to visit even more :)

Taz_
19-11-10, 08:49 PM
Great read.

Thanks for sharing, really.

A good point is that yes since people can't afford real estate or long term investments etc. So they spend their money on expensive luxuries and random shit. My boss lived and worked in Japan for a while and tells me some interesting stories.

One other thing is since cars are expensive to park and having a parking space of your own is not as common in the west, many Japanese simply down own a car, hence they spend their money on consumer goods and brand name gear. You think people are rich but it's just that they don't spend it on mortgages and have less financial 'responsibilities'.

HuH
20-11-10, 08:40 AM
great read thanks for taking the time to make such a long but insightful post keep up the good work.

This post echoes my thoughts exactly. I find Japanese culture fascinating, so thanks for sharing.

seventhskyline
21-11-10, 01:21 AM
To me that's what optimism is though :)


Its stoicism.


So who are the private individuals who comprise the bulk of yahoo advertisers etc? Just a tiny proportion of the population using it?

somos
21-11-10, 10:00 AM
That really opened my eyes. Thanks gtrlux.

Scandrew
21-11-10, 10:17 AM
Great post gtrlux.

Do any of you guys have links to any of these documentaries you mentioned?

This is also a great read about foreigners wanting to live in Japan - http://www.outpostnine.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1396

jeffske
21-11-10, 12:49 PM
Great read.

Thanks for sharing, really.

A good point is that yes since people can't afford real estate or long term investments etc. So they spend their money on expensive luxuries and random shit. My boss lived and worked in Japan for a while and tells me some interesting stories.

One other thing is since cars are expensive to park and having a parking space of your own is not as common in the west, many Japanese simply down own a car, hence they spend their money on consumer goods and brand name gear. You think people are rich but it's just that they don't spend it on mortgages and have less financial 'responsibilities'.


0% interest rates and multi-generation mortgages are things Australia needs to adopt ...

Babalouie
21-11-10, 02:35 PM
But Not keymoney tho

cristian
21-11-10, 04:23 PM
Great post gtrlux.

Do any of you guys have links to any of these documentaries you mentioned?

This is also a great read about foreigners wanting to live in Japan - http://www.outpostnine.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1396


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ixs00uTxDCg

this one mentions how the japanese have less interest in property due to small range of options for inexpensive real estate, hence they spend their money on their cars...

ModaFUR
22-11-10, 03:22 PM
Wow awesome read! Thanks for making my day at work a little more insightful :)

felixR
22-11-10, 04:46 PM
Awesome read. Thanks for sharing! x 99

It was good to see what you've experienced and learned!!

DC2-PWR
22-11-10, 10:57 PM
Always wanted to read about Japan's way of car lifestyles. Thanks for sharing!

xsoarerx
23-11-10, 12:31 AM
I wouldn’t say 99.9% of Japanese deal solely with the dealer. 90% maybe. And there are other factors that weigh on the decision to keep tuned cars in Japan like shaken.

Shaken is there equivalent of the roadworthy that has to be done every two years, the majority of Japanese don’t know how to do the work on their cars them self to make it pass shaken, so they drop them off at a mechanic to do it for them which is a costly exercise 1) because many don’t spend the time to figure out what’s needed to pass and 2) because they would rather not bother, that’s why you see a lot of modified cars both on yahoo and thru dealers who know what’s needed to be done to pass. Also if a car has had an engine change it requires papers and costs a fair bit to pass (100k ~ 200k).

Owing a car in Japan its frighteningly expensive. After shaken, insurance etc… you have to pay about 7000yen a month (about 100 bucks aussie) for a car park (unless you have a kei car). If you don’t have a park you have to rent one. Once you have one, you have to draw a detailed map showing where your car is in relation to the place you live and hand it into the cop shop. Fuel is a bit more expensive than here but, fuels, fuel… toll’s are a big thing over there tho. Due to the awesomeness of the roads the majority of the highways are toll roads. Leaving only urban streets and under roads to drive on toll free which over a long distance will destroy your soul with constant red lights, traffic and low speed limits

Driving from Osaka to Ebisu (thru ebisu) on a Wednesday night costed me 16,000yen (about 200ish au) a 10 hour drive, similar distance between Brisbane and Sydney.
You can get a ETC card, and a ETC card reading machine. You have to have an account and I think you have to be a resident of Japan. This gives you discounts when you drive. On certain times and certain roads which can almost cut costs quite a lot.

I love & I’m constantly hearing from people “I’m gona get a drift car, and travel around to all the tracks in Japan etc... and I’m going to sleep in the car so I don’t have to spend any money” and constantly face palm and try to explain it just doesn’t work like that at all.

correct me if im not quite right on a few things. just a few things ive learnt from being there/my mate who exports.

gtrlux
23-11-10, 01:18 AM
Spot on xsoarerx

Traveling in japan can be very expensive, any way around. Highways are bloody expensive and even if you take national roads and need an eternity you are going to pay on more gas.

Yahoo auctions are really not to take serious for any facts on the japanese market sales. Yes you have a lots of cars there, half of them stolen . .lol, but they are just 0.1% of all the cars that get traded or sold at the same moment in japan. Also is it very dangerous to actually purchase a car from yahoo auctions, considering that the seller is complete out of the norm in terms of how cars are traded in japan . . . or you have to be sure the seller is an exporter with international trading experience.

The japanese national car inspection can be found in every prefecture and everyone can just go there to get their car`s shakken done. The problem is that japanese peeps don`t make a fuzz about finding out how to do it (which will spare them at least 400USD on their car) and second most dealers do the shakken at their garage anyway, which is convenient for the customer. (lazy)
There is a difference between lets say the typical Toyota official dealer like Corrola, Netz or Toyopet, which can effectively do the howl shakken testing in house and your tuner. The tuner is going to make you a price to get your tuned car through the national car inspection in the prefecture, because the tuner himself can`t do the test (no facility, no shakken liscence). . . . the price is to swap OEM parts back on your car so the car will pass the day the tuner goes to the inspection . . . but there is a grey zone of what will actually pass and what tuners tell the customer, what won`t pass!
In fact no cars need serious servicing of preparation for the shakken, if you go and your car is OK, which most of the japanese cared cars are, you just pay the 45000Yen shakken fee, without the pseudo fixing from your Toyota dealer that they say has to be done to pass the inspection, even if the car will pass without. (which will cost then over 100.000Yen in the norm for a chaser class sedan).

Thats one of the reason japanese cars are so well maintained . . . because the customers and dealers are close to paranoia.:lol:

broady
23-11-10, 01:27 AM
Interesting sentiments. Thanks for sharing.

As someone said above, I'm interested as to where the listing from Yahoo auctions come from.

The majority look to be from dealers, however a substantial amount appear to be from private sellers. Do you have any insight into this?

gtrlux
23-11-10, 01:53 AM
Interesting sentiments. Thanks for sharing.

As someone said above, I'm interested as to where the listing from Yahoo auctions come from.

The majority look to be from dealers, however a substantial amount appear to be from private sellers. Do you have any insight into this?

Any car picture that shows a car in a private, outdoor, none-garage-dealer environment is a private advert. The rest is the same stuff as on carsensor.co.jp / kurumaerabi or goonet. Also many cars advertised on yahoo are sold by small garages who don`t have a liscence to sell on real big car auction as USS, so they try their luck on yahoo.
I wouldn`t be wrong if 80% of the parts sold on yahoo auction as new, are actually real , but the seller is with one foot in jail, as they don`t have a liscence to sell parts in japan, hence where do they get the stuff from ??

xsoarerx
23-11-10, 09:46 AM
but i would trust private yahoo auctions over the Big car auctions, yes there are some really dodge listings on yahoo from time to time, but some of those auction cars can be traps as well... epically the ones that seam too good to be true. a friend was looking at importing an S15 for a client and kept finding mint looking ones for 100k with a few trick bits but usually these jems are put together by wreckers. they will have a bent chassis rail or front on damage, they straighten them out, put some straight panels on and sell for a profit.

generally Japanese demand good service and expect it, and since most Japanese are to scared of giving bad service of getting into trouble for selling something thats not what they described they undervalue the item there selling, play it off for worse than what it is or tell the truth. so if your on yahoo auctions looking at a car and it has a big description saying how poo it is but it doesnt look that bad in the pics most of the time it is actually very well described or described worse than what it is to save their own skin.

ive gotten a few good pairs of rims and parts because of this fact. cars... almost bought an 86 but decided against it for other reasons.

jOhn-e
23-11-10, 10:24 AM
Nice post, great read.

Bang A Dang
23-11-10, 11:25 AM
hey, im in Japan with steven...
hopefully, we can meet up soon

khoa

313GNT
23-11-10, 03:48 PM
i lost my load over point number 5

gtrlux
23-11-10, 07:55 PM
hey, im in Japan with steven...
hopefully, we can meet up soon

khoa

I told Steven as soon as you guys have time in nagoya, just PM me or call me . . . so we can arrange something.:)

Chris

nebuchernezzer
24-11-10, 09:22 AM
Oh yeah there is the whole kai title thing, which is a modified title for cars, kinda like our engineers cert over here. I forget what you need one for exactly but I do recall auto to manual swaps needing one or something silly like that so cars that were modded and then ran out of rego and didn't have a kai title were common on Yahoo!

Also I didn't find the Japanese rego to be heaps more expensive than registering a car in NSW....but that's damn expensive so yeah! :\

evil86
24-11-10, 10:48 PM
great read. it has really opened my eyes. the japs are total different compares to australians

HwyStar
25-11-10, 01:54 PM
Thanks for the insight gtrlux,
But I have one question for you, what is the opinion of older cars inside the japanese car culture?
I'm a big fan of 88-81 hondas (eh: crxs/civics etc) & lucky for me, there's still quite a few of them kicking around on our roads which is nice to see, but from what I understand, that isn't the case over there. Are older japanese cars just looked on with distaste by the locals? Not appreciated? Frowned upon? Are they owned, modified, enjoyed by anyone over there? Or is most of the car culture into the latest cars with a select few 'outcasts' that are still into old cars?

gtrlux
25-11-10, 02:43 PM
Thanks for the insight gtrlux,
But I have one question for you, what is the opinion of older cars inside the japanese car culture?
I'm a big fan of 88-81 hondas (eh: crxs/civics etc) & lucky for me, there's still quite a few of them kicking around on our roads which is nice to see, but from what I understand, that isn't the case over there. Are older japanese cars just looked on with distaste by the locals? Not appreciated? Frowned upon? Are they owned, modified, enjoyed by anyone over there? Or is most of the car culture into the latest cars with a select few 'outcasts' that are still into old cars?

I think that japan has a large consumer market and japanese people like to consume customized and divers goods.
You have the freaks who keep the japanese car heritage alive, then young peeps loving older models for being cheap and still performing and you have the used car industry obviously supporting old sales in the name of heritage.

Old Hondas, as most older sports cars of the 80. and 90. get rarer as most drivers switch to eco friendly and Kei-cars, do to money reasons. Japanese demography changes radical and for the first time after war the homogene japanese middle class seems to crack in to poor and rich. . . . so many peeps opt cautious, choosing kei-cars.
On the other side as many young japanese don`t have money or see a brilliant future for them selves anymore, they idealize with cars like a Honda CRX, which has a status of heritage, is still affordable and makes tons of fun. Its like the origins of the import culture in the US, where mainly poor peeps tuned cheap japanese imports is now coming back to japan, or better say finally hits japan, . . . as there was no such culture here in the 80 and 90., in such a norm.

Also do I think that this is again a perfect example to illustrate the strange status, japanese peeps attach to a car. Most peeps drive Kei-cars that have no other status then going for a clever choice in everydays japan traffic hell. More expensive cars like Crown, Lexus, Fuga, Legends are more a status of showing your age and that you made it up to the age of 60. while still being part of the upper middle class. . . . the status 30+ peeps attach to a Audi or BMW ownership in the west is still unknown in japan, even if you see many middle age salarymen recently with A4s and BMW 3series.

MikeZ32
08-12-10, 04:11 PM
Decent read, very intriguing. Thanks !

xsoarerx
08-12-10, 04:31 PM
also other thought to add to that is due to the 2 year shaken rule (where it gets checked over every two years) alot of cars we sent to scrap leaving only the more desirable cars from the 70's and 80's on the road.

my mate in Osaka has a B110 long bed ute which was a former National electric company car (its rat as with the classic 70's liverly and dings everywhere and some 14x7's all round) wanted to get it thru shaken and just the emissions test for a 70's car was 90k yen. and that was before the shaken test which he wasn't assured of passing.

WAN94N
08-12-10, 10:09 PM
....wow

_Wing_
09-12-10, 11:00 AM
Thanks for sharing it's pretty interesting stuff

mxfly
09-12-10, 01:45 PM
I do agree the majority of cars are well serviced and maintained but there's the other side of the coin and that's the absolute shitters which a lot of them tend to be exported. 95% (or more) of the shitbox export market ends up in Europe. A small percentage ends up in Oz as well and are bought by the shonky dealers, gets them cleaned up and onsold to unsuspecting buyers. Don't get me wrong. There are good honest importers out there but they are few and far between.

Mr 0uch
17-12-10, 08:58 PM
Great read.
hence they spend their money on consumer goods and brand name gear. You think people are rich but it's just that they don't spend it on mortgages and have less financial 'responsibilities'.

sounds like somthing "us teenagers" do :P


Definitely goes to show that the rest world is still a very interesting a different place!

The Stig
17-12-10, 09:01 PM
sounds like somthing "us teenagers" do :P


Definitely goes to show that the rest world is still a very interesting a different place!

Yeah man! definately is, you should go see it sometime!

n00bis
18-12-10, 08:17 PM
Wicked read... Just makes me want to see Jap Land even more.

SK!D
02-06-11, 11:17 PM
great write up man, there way of living is definatly unique, i cant wait till i finaly get round to going over there

autechlol
03-06-11, 09:38 AM
Great read.

I have a question for you which you have probably heard a million times over..

Is it very common to roll back odometers when selling a car? Why is it that a lot of imports seem to have around 60,000kms? or is it just me?

EvoBlitz
03-06-11, 09:57 AM
An amazing read! Thanks to both Chris and xsoarerx, you have further more reinforced the reason I love Japanese culture :)

I find the section about loyality to your tuner and equalilty between street races very interesting, unforunately something that does lack in the Australian automotive scene from time to time.
Hope to hear more of your experiences and adventures in Japan. :D

HKS200
03-06-11, 10:27 AM
can't believe I've never read this, awesome read, thanks for that, I have relatives in Kobe, Japan and I can vouch that it is exactly like that. Many people are very courteous and humble regardless of how wealthy they are. The streets are clean enough to eat off and you can see every person when they step out of their car at a carpark or something have a cloth or wipe of some sort to clean their car. Very rarely do you see sports car/older cars as well. Maybe one or two if your lucky.

WIL70S
03-06-11, 11:42 AM
to the OP or anyone who has experienced Japanese road laws/authorities..

in tokyo drift, the bloke guns it in the rx7 along the highway clocking past a cop car doing speed checks. Is it true that they wont chase if the car goes over 180km/hr?

I know its a movie and all, but it does kinda make sense cause all japanese imports have their speedos cut at 180..

NORBY
03-06-11, 12:38 PM
I found when i was there that there was extremely limited amount of 'tuner' cars, most people, as the OP said, have Kei cars as thats whats sensible, or they have Crowns etc to show their status, and there was a lot of Euro Estates (BMW's etc) which were really cool.

I cant remember where the place was that we went (near Shin-Imamiya station maybe), but it was the slums of tokyo and two nights we heard street racing but couldnt get out of our hotel quick enough to catch a look.

The highways are so nice in japan, the 80s speed limit on the other hand....

MaTBoY
10-06-11, 12:46 PM
awesome read in here.

Jimmy_HR32
10-06-11, 04:07 PM
Its a great thing and great culture, nobody goes there for the ego kick or to show off


I like this bit. :) Exact opposite to majority of people here in Australia and probably a lot of other countries.

rokutofu
11-06-11, 01:37 AM
Am in Japan at the moment, and have to say that the vast majority of cars I've seen in the major cities (Tokyo, Osaka, Kobe, Yokohama, Hiroshima, Kyoto) are small boxy Kei cars! some expensive Euros and some Jap performance, but most are small fuel efficient cars!

DreadAngel
11-06-11, 04:04 AM
You need to be more out in the rural areas or more open space places to find the cars we would imagine =P

Though if you know where to go and look @ the right time, they venture into the cities too ;)

OVTEC
11-06-11, 04:29 AM
Very true, I've been told by Chris (OP) himself when I met with him that there are some places, mostly truck stops outside Tokyo, that nearly looks like it's a scene from Tokyo Drift. You just need to know the right people.


Sent from my mind using The Force.

rokutofu
12-06-11, 01:32 PM
Very true also that the further we moved away from the main cities on our trip, the more Japanese performance cars we saw. eg. Hiroshima; RX7's everywhere!

Though, would have loved to be over there for much longer than I had stayed. These 'underground' modified car culture was what I was really after, but I guess an insider is needed.

mick.wheelz
12-06-11, 06:34 PM
I noticed a lot of rotors in hiroshima too...

rokutofu
13-06-11, 12:43 PM
I noticed a lot of rotors in hiroshima too...

Hey Mick,
Hiroshima is the home of Japan's Mazda factory + museum!

maikulz
13-06-11, 07:40 PM
thanks for the write up. Definitely an interesting read. Can't start to ponder why life there is so different to life in nearby countries like China or HK

sekii
15-06-11, 01:19 AM
Should be studying for exams... but definately a worthwhile read :D

rokutofu
24-06-11, 04:31 PM
thanks for the write up. Definitely an interesting read. Can't start to ponder why life there is so different to life in nearby countries like China or HK

I ponder also the differences between Australia and Japan. It's bizzare; No where I went in Japan did I witness or hear about violence to one another or tourist, streets are clean DESPITE the total lack of bins (!), no graffitti, people's respect of one another's properties (eg. people just park their bikes on the street without even locking them and yet it's still there when they return hours later!) and everyone obeys the law! (simple example: there are alcohol and cigarette vending machines everywhere you go, yet underage teenagers don't go near them!? i do ponder

DreadAngel
24-06-11, 05:40 PM
If you want Bippu, visit Yokohama... Plenty there hahaha =D

DAS KAMU
24-06-11, 06:09 PM
In europe or australia or the US, such practices would fail dramatic as the chavs in their Hyundai 1.0 rubbish cars would just mob you up and start a fight out of fun and jealousy.

fuck aint this the truth
sounds look he is describing a boost loosing member lol

i had a fun time talking to the middle aged guys at daikuko

DAS KAMU
24-06-11, 06:11 PM
I ponder also the differences between Australia and Japan. It's bizzare; No where I went in Japan did I witness or hear about violence to one another or tourist, streets are clean DESPITE the total lack of bins (!), no graffitti, people's respect of one another's properties (eg. people just park their bikes on the street without even locking them and yet it's still there when they return hours later!) and everyone obeys the law! (simple example: there are alcohol and cigarette vending machines everywhere you go, yet underage teenagers don't go near them!? i do ponder
i thought about the beer and smoke machines over there
i thought if these were in australia they would be smashed open and robbed by the fucktard rejects that are scatted across this country

rokutofu
25-06-11, 11:22 AM
i thought about the beer and smoke machines over there
i thought if these were in australia they would be smashed open and robbed by the fucktard rejects that are scatted across this country

I thought the EXACT thing!

MagicBaas
04-07-11, 08:40 PM
Great read, Japan is one of the countries I would really love to see, especially the underground car scene. Love the Japanese drifting video posted on the home page of JDMST, bunch of crazy pricks.

Penga
04-07-11, 09:18 PM
this was a really good read i want to go to japan and experience the lifestyle there.....

xsoarerx
04-07-11, 09:53 PM
to the OP or anyone who has experienced Japanese road laws/authorities..

in tokyo drift, the bloke guns it in the rx7 along the highway clocking past a cop car doing speed checks. Is it true that they wont chase if the car goes over 180km/hr?

I know its a movie and all, but...

haha, kinda like when i told my mum i 'Drifted' for the frist time "is that like in the car parks in Toyko" - Mother induced face palm.

I can’t really tell ya if that’s true or not (sounds like crap to me), but on the Wangan or Osaka Loop line... or on the major Highways in Tokyo there’s really no where for the cops to sit. They have a multitude of fixed and point to point speed camera systems (i.e. set time between two points and if you go under that your cooked) as well as cops and undercover Crowns roaming the lines.


I found when i was there that there was extremely limited amount of 'tuner' cars, most people, as the OP said, have Kei cars as thats whats sensible, or they have Crowns etc to show their status, and there was a lot of Euro Estates (BMW's etc) which were really cool.

I cant remember where the place was that we went (near Shin-Imamiya station maybe), but it was the slums of tokyo and two nights we heard street racing but couldnt get out of our hotel quick enough to catch a look.

The highways are so nice in japan, the 80s speed limit on the other hand....

The 80km/hr speed limit is not like in Oz… “You’ve done 85km/hr… Your FUCKED!” it’s more of a 80km is the limit but you have around 30km/hr leniency. There are some strict speed cameras place to place but generally the cops won’t come after you if your doing 20kms over. Don’t quote me on that tho.

One thing japan has tho are rad speed detector GPS type units… its just a little heads up display that you mount on your dash board, tells you speed limits of roads, where the strict and not so strict cameras are and even where police are known spots to set up hand held radar guns.

It’s kinda hard to explain this to first time JDM trippers after the speedhunter/blog mentality has brain washed us into believing otherwise… Majority of people give me the “oh you’ve been and didn’t see any cool cars, your just unlucky” look… but unless you have a hook up, someone on the inside or just have your shit really sorted and keen to just go hunting no matter what the cost… your not going to walk out from your hotel in Shibuya and see any sort of decent performance car.


You need to be more out in the rural areas or more open space places to find the cars we would imagine =P

Though if you know where to go and look @ the right time, they venture into the cities too ;)

Not at all, most cool work shops are in the suburbs. Obviously you’d have to be a pretty baller tuner to afford to be anywhere near the city centre. Most workshops are off a main road, down another road off that, round a corner and tucked at the back of a line of sheds and only open between 3pm and 2am.

A good analogy I read once to find workshops in japan (like going to the tracks) is. Try explain to someone who doesn’t have a car how to get to Queensland Raceway from Brisbane city… but they can’t read English, speak the language, and don’t want to spend 100 bucks in taxi cost each way. Now what makes this harder is that there is not 20million people but 120million and the majority have no idea what your on about even if you could speak it.

DreadAngel
05-07-11, 03:47 AM
Wasn't referring to workshops?

Was referring to the 'JDM' cars we love to imagine that roam around Tokyo central... But that aren't really that many there...

menty
05-07-11, 03:00 PM
Only thing about Japan is I that I thought there would be much more relatively new cars due to their rules of owenership/ people selling before their shaken was up.
In fact, I saw alot of older cars too, from the 90s eras too.

Eg: Eg lots of mid 90s Mark IIs

046
07-07-11, 05:44 PM
great thread, always interesting to learn about other cultures' way of life, in this case in regards to car ownership. thanks :)

Aleks.B
12-07-11, 09:39 AM
4) Performance Car culture at large
So just consider all the points above and you will quick understand that japanese owners feel that they all sit in the same boat, the culture of feeling bound together in life is so great that even wealthy people act like being more poor out of concern to be out locked of the scene or community . . . when poor people get pulled up and interact on equal level in the car culture.
How many times I went to illegal races or meeting here in Aichiken and allways you meet rich peeps showing up with Ferraris or high tuned R35 GTRs, chating on the side walk with guys owning rubbish Silvia drift cars, they are barly able to afford the insurance, drinking coffee and enjoying car life.
Its a great thing and great culture, nobody goes there for the ego kick or to show off, you show off to interact and share, not to gain fame or respect in return.
Even the bikers join these meetings, considering that else where its bikers versus cars war!



This <3

davecarter
27-07-11, 03:00 PM
Awesome thread. Has made me want to head there so much more. I do have to admit that I started reading this with the n00b "I'm going to buy a car and travel Japan" attitude though :P

mick.wheelz
28-07-11, 01:59 PM
The 80km/hr speed limit is not like in Oz… “You’ve done 85km/hr… Your FUCKED!” it’s more of a 80km is the limit but you have around 30km/hr leniency. There are some strict speed cameras place to place but generally the cops won’t come after you if your doing 20kms over. Don’t quote me on that tho.


Driving around nagoya I learnt this quickly. No one does 80kph on the expressways. I was sitting in the far left lane doing 80 (like the signs said to) and had people getting quite frustrated behind me.

I jumped in the far right lane for a bit and most people were doing 100-110. Aside from the fixed cameras, on the high set roads (ones that run above the ground) there aren't really many places for police to sit.

U MIRIN S15
28-07-11, 08:44 PM
Love your thread !

xsoarerx
28-07-11, 10:14 PM
Driving around nagoya I learnt this quickly. No one does 80kph on the expressways. I was sitting in the far left lane doing 80 (like the signs said to) and had people getting quite frustrated behind me.

I jumped in the far right lane for a bit and most people were doing 100-110. Aside from the fixed cameras, on the high set roads (ones that run above the ground) there aren't really many places for police to sit.

funnyist example i have of this tho... driving to ebisu from osaka sitting on buck30 in my sil with a few other sils, 180's, jzx90, c33's and then having a Toyota Noah in full 'Style wagon' buzz past us on an easy buck50...

there i was sweating thinking a cop's going to come up behind this hord of slide cars going 50 odd over and a People mover of all things speeds past like it was nothing.

just puts into prespective how 'sheltered' or 'harrassed' we are here.

steeko
01-08-11, 05:58 PM
great thread, I have some friends and family in Japan, it's pretty crazy to hear how everyone just gets along and people being idiots is generally not tolerated (well its the culture).

imagine going to a street car meet with a distinct lack of ego's ??

jem
12-09-11, 05:50 PM
thanks for the good read mate

US05LW
01-11-11, 05:11 PM
nice post ! soo good to read about japan and there car lifestyle over there, so want to go over there asap !

dopey
01-11-11, 06:27 PM
Driving around nagoya I learnt this quickly. No one does 80kph on the expressways. I was sitting in the far left lane doing 80 (like the signs said to) and had people getting quite frustrated behind me.

I jumped in the far right lane for a bit and most people were doing 100-110. Aside from the fixed cameras, on the high set roads (ones that run above the ground) there aren't really many places for police to sit.

I still haven't quite figured out the Japanese expressway speed limit game. I usually just sit with whatever the faster traffic are doing, I've never had a fine turn up *touch wood*.

gtrlux
01-02-12, 08:28 AM
Thanks for ht input continuing in to this thread, much has happened since I made the OP. 2011 was a difficult year to overcome for japan, I had for my part moved back with my family to Europe1 month after Fukushima out of concern . . but damn do I miss japan, my wife now in japan for a month, me joining her next week, stay updated for some videos and photograpy:)

Cheers

chris

Celica_Gt4
01-02-12, 11:28 AM
Im planing on going to Japan in 2013 (big group of us so waiting to save up) we want to do the snow and see Japanese culture... I'm definately hoping to see some car culture when im over there.

Bakadesu!
06-02-12, 02:29 AM
Every foreigner who lives here has different experiences, but I have a lot of mileage (har har) on the roads around Tokyo, so I can add a bit in here.


in tokyo drift, the bloke guns it in the rx7 along the highway clocking past a cop car doing speed checks. Is it true that they wont chase if the car goes over 180km/hr?

Surprise, it's not true. They can chase you and they will.

I've never seen one of the usual marked highway patrol Crowns going at any rate of speed, and I'm not sure how fast the unmarked V35 Skyline four-doors and Crown Athletes can go, but I have a friend who was doing 220km/h in his 180SX on the Gaikan, and he was pulled over by highway patrolman in an undercover R32 GT-R. I saw a marked R34 GT-R patrolcar on the same stretch of road a few days ago too.

What the unmarked cars usually do is try and pace you for long enough to figure out how fast you're going, so if you can spot them and quickly slow down and pretend you weren't speeding, they might not pull you over.

I was riding with friend in an R33 GT-R who did this on the Shutokou, and he was doing the speed limit by the time the cops caught up. Since they couldn't really do anything, they shouted out the equivalent of "We've got your plate number you son of a bitch, so you'd better head on home right now!" through the car's loudspeaker.

As for the expressways around central Tokyo, you do occasionally get "shirobai" or "white motorcycle" Honda VFR750 patrol bikes that sit in highway service vehicle ramps and wait for someone to go past a little bit too fast, and undercover Cedrics patrol the long straights of the Wangan and the area around Kawasaki and Yokohama. I've never seen them pull over a fast car though.

As for the speed limits on expressways, 80 is usually the posted limit, cops can pull you over for anything over 100 if they feel like it, and the fixed speed cameras don't go off unless you're doing 40km/h over whatever the limit is.


I love & Iím constantly hearing from people ďIím gona get a drift car, and travel around to all the tracks in Japan etc... and Iím going to sleep in the car so I donít have to spend any moneyĒ and constantly face palm and try to explain it just doesnít work like that at all.

Why not? I do it all the time. :)

Polishstorm
29-02-12, 09:21 AM
Wow interesting read... Def sounds like a trip over to see what Japan is all about.

Paulstar
23-03-12, 06:27 PM
Thanks to the OP for making the thread, I've read it before and had another look in now.

Question for the OP or anyone who can answer. How realistic would it be for me to land up in Japan, purchase a motorbike and do a few track days / get around the place a bit? Are tolls for bikes as expensive as cars? I imagine parking would be a fair bit cheaper.

Thanks in advance

Drifter995
23-03-12, 06:48 PM
dunno if it mentioned, but surely in japan, the cost of rego for a car over I think it was 4 years doubles in price per year? that's mostly why they sell them? aside from being uniform?

Bakadesu!
23-03-12, 10:26 PM
dunno if it mentioned, but surely in japan, the cost of rego for a car over I think it was 4 years doubles in price per year? that's mostly why they sell them?

That's a myth. It doesn't increase in price, but it does start to add up once a car gets a bit old. Every two years, you need a full inspection done before the car can be re-registered. Unless you can do it yourself, which most people couldn't be bothered doing, it's quite expensive. Add in the fees for the mechanic who make sure the car will pass the test before going to the testing center, and then take it to the center to deal with the testing people, and you can start paying over $2000 plus other repair expenses for rego on a car that's not even worth that much, so you sell it and get a new one. Yearly taxes can be about $600 for a sedan on top of that.

Speaking of that, selling your car through classifieds is almost non-existent for regular people. The vast majority are done through used car dealers. If you want to sell a used car, you go to a broker like Apple or Gulliver, and they'll buy your old car from you. The reason for this is because the registration process is such an expensive hassle that buying a lemon from some unaccountable person is to much to deal with, and having a dealer-guaranteed car is the way to go for most people.

Of course, you can do it all yourself if you know what needs doing.



How realistic would it be for me to land up in Japan, purchase a motorbike and do a few track days / get around the place a bit?

Zero unless you have a place of residence to which to register it. You'll need to have it registered to someone else who lives here.

http://www.gaijinriders.com might be a good start.

Drifter995
24-03-12, 02:01 AM
ah cool. thanks for clearing that up. :D

Paulstar
24-03-12, 12:06 PM
Zero unless you have a place of residence to which to register it. You'll need to have it registered to someone else who lives here.

http://www.gaijinriders.com might be a good start.


Great resource, thanks! I think an address could be sorted through family friends. I think I'll get the information I need from that site. Thanks again!

aly in underland
24-03-12, 01:33 PM
That's a myth. It doesn't increase in price, but it does start to add up once a car gets a bit old. Every two years, you need a full inspection done before the car can be re-registered. Unless you can do it yourself, which most people couldn't be bothered doing, it's quite expensive. Add in the fees for the mechanic who make sure the car will pass the test before going to the testing center, and then take it to the center to deal with the testing people, and you can start paying over $2000 plus other repair expenses for rego on a car that's not even worth that much, so you sell it and get a new one. Yearly taxes can be about $600 for a sedan on top of that.

The thing is, the inspection criteria in Japan isn't particularly stringent (at least, compared to places like Germany - although it's not like in Australia where someone walks around the car once and you're good to go). Especially since these days you're able to go to the Ministry of Transport testing centre and do a "user-shaken" for around •1500.

Aly's hastily translated guide to the user-shaken!
http://koukisinnichijyou.up.seesaa.net/image/B8A1BABAA5B3A1BCA5B9A3B2.JPG

An important difference to the Australian inspection is that many of the steps are done using automated machinery which you're required to drive onto yourself and follow instructions shown on the display.
http://www.geocities.jp/syaken716k/mhsyaken/DSCF0011.JPG
Also, some testing units require you to press buttons to indicate your drive type (F/R/AWD) and the such. A grasp of the Japanese language - or someone with it - is highly recommended for this reason. Also, you will be supplied with a report card, which you must insert into machines after tests to record your results. The order of the tests often differ between testing centres, so the below is only a rough guide.

Part I: General Inspection
An inspector will come around to your car, at which point you are asked to open your bonnet to confirm the VIN.
The below will be tested for operation:
- Front position lamps
- Headlamps, low and high beam
- Fog lamps, if fitted
- Indicators (all of them)
- Tail and brake lamps
- Reversing lamps
- Horn
- Windscreen wipers and washers
- Seatbelt warning lamp/beeper
Also, if you have aftermarket racing seats in a two or three door coupe/hatchback with rear passenger seats, it is a legal requirement that the seat be able to be tilted to allow access to the rear-seat passengers!

Part II: Wheel Alignment
To test for correct wheel alignment, you must slowly drive your car over the yellow lines on the alignment-testing machine when told to. The chequerboard plates are able to move side to side to test how much your car strays from a straight line. Don't move the steering wheel!
http://www.user-shaken.com/photo/025.jpg

Part III: Speedometer Test
Place your car over the speedo-tester or the multi-tester, and accelerate your car to 40kph steadily (Manual drivers are recommended to do this in second gear). Once you hit a steady 40kph, flash your lights or press the supplied switch. Given that this is automated, you can just flash your lights/press the switch when you know your car is doing 40! ;]

This is what a multi-tester looks like:
https://blog.so-net.ne.jp/_images/blog/_765/ducatimhr900/CA3C0061-947cc.jpg

Part IV: Brake Tests
If you're on a multi-tester, stay there - otherwise, move onwards to the brake-tester. The roller beneath your wheels will start to rotate them, and when the display tells you to, brake like you're about to fall off a cliff! There are two types of brake-testers: the two-wheel and the four-wheel. Pretty straightforward, you just move forward to test the rears after your fronts if you're using a two-wheel tester.
Both your footbrake and handbrake are tested, so make sure your handbrake is well-adjusted!

Part V: Headlamp Alignment
This is the one people are most likely to fail! Drive up to the line in front of the robotic light tester and put your high beams on...
http://www.asahi-net.or.jp/~ep7y-tmt/image/photo-L/P-82-1-94.jpg
And it will move around automatically testing your headlamp aim. From what I gather, the regulations are that your high beams must be aimed at a spot on the ground 100 metres in front of your car, directly ahead. It seems to be pretty strict, so test your headlamps before you go!

Part VI: Exhaust Test
This often happens at the same time as the headlamp test. Take the supplied probe and stick it up the exhaust of your (idling) car, and it'll do all the hard work for you.
This is a probe.
http://annai-center.com/image/line06.jpg

Part VII: Underbody Check
Drive your car over a pit, and then an inspector will test your underbody for leaks, loose parts, rust, and the usual problems. You may be instructed to use your brakes/handbrakes, wiggle the steering wheel, and other things.

As you can see, the areas tested aren't particularly numerous, and all the pre-inspection checks and fixes can likely be done at home by a mechanically competent person. And that's about it! If you fail because of a minor problem that you can fix on the spot, you are able to redo the test (though you have to pay •1200).

Sources (All in Japanese):
http://www.user-shaken.info/describe/index.html <- Very informative!
http://www.user-shaken.com/juken/02.html
http://www.asahi-net.or.jp/~ep7y-tmt/d2.htm
http://kuronekoroadster.web.fc2.com/UserS1.html

So, why is the shaken so expensive if done the traditional way? This comes from a difference in attitude towards car maintenance - the generally accepted idea in Japan is that given that you have a car, it ought to be looked after and kept the best it could be at all times. Hence, a dealer or workshop will often change fluids/brake pads/other consumables and do a comprehensively thorough service before the bi-annual inspection. I have much to say about my observations of the Japanese attitude to cars, but I'll leave that for another day.

Good luck, and hope this helps!

Babalouie
24-03-12, 10:12 PM
Great info, Aly!

So basically if you have a stock or very lightly modded car that's in good condition, this shouldn't be an issue, right?

Does the process ping you for mods?

aly in underland
25-03-12, 11:16 AM
From what I read, I'd agree with you.

Also, the Japanese seem to pretty lenient when it comes to mods as long as the car fulfils the particular criteria for the inspection. Hence, (sensible) bodykits are okay, so are coilovers (although the lowest point of the car must be no closer to the ground than 9cm), big brakes, exhausts (under 96db), aftermarket intercoolers, boost controllers, pod filters, blow-off valves (as long as it's connected to the exhaust), fender flares, HID headlamp conversions, and any engine mods that aren't visible. ;]

What you do need to remember are that the horn button must indicate that it's a horn button, and the shift knob must indicate the pattern. Apparently, it's fine even if they're just drawn onto pieces of paper and taped on.
http://kakarityou.web.fc2.com/taiou121.jpg
http://kakarityou.web.fc2.com/taiou221.jpg

Also, the stock seat belts need to be useable even if you have a harness, and aftermarket mirrors that protrude further than the edge of the body must be able to fold. Also, tint is not allowed on the front/driver/passenger windows. Obviously your car needs a catalytic converter if it came with one, and the tyres can't protrude beyond the guards.

Got this info from a guy with a modded JZX100:
http://kakarityou.web.fc2.com/tyesyac21111.jpg
(The car in the state that it passed inspection)

http://kakarityou.web.fc2.com/pttyesya1.html
http://kakarityou.web.fc2.com/ptsyakennche.html

Note: Modified cars such as these that pass inspection are best taken to the inspection station yourself. The whole thing about the Japanese being strict on mods is that it's the dealers/workshops who refuse to get inspected modified cars because they have too many unknown variables that could lead to headaches!

Bakadesu!
29-03-12, 05:02 PM
Does the process ping you for mods?

Not like if you're being defected in Australia, but they do go over them.

For example, you can have crazy big wheels on your car, but they can't stick out of the guard at the top, as mentioned, but neither can the bottom of the wheel itself if it's cambered in. They have plumb bobs that they'll hold against the edge of the fender to see if the wheels are protuding. If you have aftermarket wheels, they also might be rejected unless they have that "JWL" standards mark cast on them.

Mods aren't always just passed through visual inspection either. Other things like gearbox swaps require extra paperwork, especially if it's a manual conversion. Most workshops that do these mods will supply the owner with the appropriate paperwork, which is a stack of diagrams and things describing gear ratios and so-on, and require you to get a "kai" or "modified" mark on your registration. Requiring that means they'll be looking even harder at everything your car and will check things they normally won't. If you've ever bought a Japanese performance part and wondered why it came with several seemingly irrelevant pages of text and pictures, that's what that is.

As well as the horn and gear pattern things, there's also lots of other little things they'll get you for that you never think about, like bucket seats requiring padding on the back of them and airbag warning lights not showing if you've removed an airbag steering wheel or seat. I know a workshop that has "shaken kits" for rent that include standard seats and mufflers etc, which made doing it a lot easier.

On the up-side, there's things you can do to make the registration cheaper, such as installing a loudspeaker system and registering the car as a "work" vehicle, or removing every removable part of the rollcage and taking out any jacks or spare tyres etc. to try and lower the weight and make the weight tax cheaper.

Here's my Mark II going through the inspection center with no bodykit and in 4x4-spec. They made me take that sticker off the brakelight a bit further down the line.

http://forum.jdmstyletuning.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=1681&d=1333000080


these days you're able to go to the Ministry of Transport testing centre and do a "user-shaken" for around •1500.

That's only the fee stamp part of it. At the same time, you need to pay the actual fee for running through the center (about •2000), tax for the weight of the car (depends, but can be over •25000), the recycling fee (about •10000), have compulsory insurance and a registered car space, which generally requires a trip to the local city police station too.

Another reason regular people don't tend to do shaken themselves is that testing centers aren't open on weekends, and people aren't too keen on taking a precious day off in order to sit in the testing line queue in the sun for an hour, then in the certificate office surrounded by sweaty mechanics in overalls. As for modified cars, most performance shops around me do shaken for their customers.

anfunb
19-04-12, 11:43 AM
Good read, tks for sharing!!

dnapol
19-04-12, 11:47 AM
might be heading to japan very soon to check out the car culture :) love all this info :D :D keep it up guys

KEIVAN
19-04-12, 03:50 PM
more please! when i was in tokyo i saw only 1 eg civic, and a ae86 that was just silly nice. i will upload a pic i took of a 300c with a young man in the drivers seat. lol

mmm
27-04-12, 05:34 PM
top read! - the dealership thing was very enlightening.

yeah, when I was in jp it was nothing like what I expected. hardly any older model jap cars around that we've all come to know n love here in aus, saw like only a handful of modified cars which were all parked out the front of super autobacs and omg people movers everywhere--- someone once told me something along the lines of them having very strict laws and regulations surrounding cars older than 10 yrs of which they just dump into countries like ours where they go on to become our glorified imports!

NonStopReaper
01-06-12, 06:36 PM
I shipped my US Spec car over from the U.S and had to go throught this process.It is better to have everything stock but like aly said, they make exception. also it will cost you about 3000-4000USD for it all. 2000USD alone for the emission test, then the rest goes for the JCI, Road tax, insurance and other fees.

nizpro
04-06-12, 08:02 PM
Great read

hayaku86
26-06-12, 03:36 PM
That really was a great read. I can see why people are still posting 'great read'. だいすきです。

oriddle
26-06-12, 08:23 PM
Yes, there just are a lot of things that go unnoticed with Japanese cars and there are some who are working toward their advantage while there are those who don't. It just depends on what you are inclined to find out and up to what extent you want to see things coming.

Car ownership is one of the few things that could really be a big responsibility many people just aren't familiar with.

FlowMo
29-06-12, 03:33 PM
great post and interesting read

DakDak
03-07-12, 11:53 AM
Very good thread!

xsoarerx
05-07-12, 11:36 AM
Why not? I do it all the time. :)

I think you and i both know it take a special sort of foreigner to do so. :D

Veafo.
11-07-12, 01:23 PM
Do you guys have any insight into the popularity spike in 4-doors for drifting in Japan? Seems like it's a lot easier to see R32 4 doors, Chasers, Cefiro's, Laurels, all sorts of 4 doors; with less Silvia's/180SX's than before.

Is registration in Japan cheaper for a 4-door, or are there other reasons?

zhuowu
27-08-12, 06:39 AM
i will learn it....thanks for post read it again....:>

hazmatt_05
09-09-12, 08:51 PM
Whoa, this is a real eye opener. After studying Japanese throughout school and even my teacher being Japanese, I never knew about some of the lifestyle characteristics of the Japanese that you've outlined. Great read man, thanks for that :)

Boogs
09-09-12, 09:59 PM
Excellent read.. A real eye opener in some points.

I have a fair few dealings with Japanese as I buy alot of Tomica/Kyosho scale diecast model cars from toy dealers over there.
I must say, they are the nicest, down to earth, most polite, helpful people you will ever meet in this world.
They will bend over backwards for you and practically do backflips in order for your continued business with them.

Wonderful country, the culture, the food, the hospitality, just everything.
Never ever been there, but its definitely on the to do list tho.

aly in underland
21-10-12, 06:26 PM
This is JDM car culture, as told by the next generation of Japanese kids.

http://livedoor.blogimg.jp/amplit/imgs/3/2/328561f7-s.jpg

Panel 1: Enzo Ferrari supercar, •100,000,000
Panel 2: On a normal car, the speedometer only goes up to around 180km/h,
Panel 3: But on this Ferrari, it goes up to 400km/h.
Panel 4: "It doesn't have much legroom, and isn't it impractical?"
Panel 6: "Which one do you want to drive when you grow up?" Supercar: 1 Eco car: 9
Panel 7: "It does look cool, but it only goes 2-3km per litre."
Panel 8: They're too sensible...

ras
21-10-12, 06:39 PM
just got back from japan today after 10 days of exploring. Could not believe how cheap 2nd hand cars are over there, like crazy cheap considering everything else over there is so much more expensive than over here. second hand cars are like a 70% cheaper than here and generally have much lower kilometres than cars in oz.

aly in underland
21-10-12, 11:31 PM
There's a good reason for that, and it comes down to the approach towards cars the Japanese people have, compared to people here.

The thing is that the average Japanese motorist values reliability, economy and certainty over anything else. Literally. The Japanese take the whole idiom of "treating cars as appliances" to its extreme, and given that Japanese cars indeed are super-reliable, the idea that you'll spend more money on fixing a car you bought is insanity, since you've already paid for it!

Of course you'd rather buy a brand new 660cc Honda N Box for $15000 rather than buy a used Silvia for $5000 and pay $5000 for repairs and maintenance even if it's infinitely more fun to drive, because you know that N Box is brand new, nothing will break on it, and even on the off-chance that it does the dealer will look after it without you having to pay a single yen - maybe even pick it up from your house and bring you a courtesy car to drive while it's being fixed so you won't lose any time off work! That's far better than driving a used car about which you don't know how it was treated in the past, you can't plan out how much repairs will cost out of warranty, and you're always in fear that something might go wrong, right?

And heaven forbid if something does break and you have to call your boss saying you'll be coming in late to work because you have to drive your awesome, fast, touge-conquoring Silvia to the shop to get fixed! He'll look at you oddly, shake his head, and mutter under his breath about why you didn't do the sensible responsible thing and buy a new car like everybody else, instead of being selfish and buying something for your own pleasure!

And that's why used cars are so cheap in Japan.

It's a symptom of the hyper-economically-savvy yet super-disposable culture of modern Japan. And the reason that pretty much all Japanese cars are reliable and boring now. As much as we complain about how used cars are so expensive here, at least we believe in maintaining things and looking after them - which is why we see far more of the proper Japanese sports cars driven normally on the road here than in Japan, where you could go days without seeing a Silvia, an R34, an Evo VIII, or anything else that makes you turn your head and think "I wish I had one of those!".

WAN94N
11-11-12, 01:49 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=9lIiW4Xwn78#!

OVTEC
11-11-12, 09:31 PM
Hahaha I love it! Hats off to whoever made that video.




Sent from my mind using The Force.

WAN94N
12-11-12, 07:21 PM
you have to watch all the others too made by the same bunch! i was all in stitches!

JoeBowHunter
05-07-13, 05:31 AM
what about the look of real jdm cars. you see a bunch of jdm thus sticker and that. what the mentality about that in Japan?

aly in underland
13-07-13, 08:34 PM
what about the look of real jdm cars. you see a bunch of jdm thus sticker and that. what the mentality about that in Japan?

Stickers: you won't find the usual "JDM" stickers like Fatlace, Illest, Shocker or stickerbombed lips/panels in Japan, outside of cars specifically done up in a USDM style. The whole look with the stickers and brightly-coloured wheels originated out of skateboarding and BMX culture in the US, and is rarely found in Japan. Also, having a shopping list of racing brand stickers is a couple of decades out of fashion!

The look of real JDM cars: not what you'd expect. Since the street-racing scene faded away in the early 2000s, the average Jotaro who likes cars has moved on to things other than sport coupes. Right now in Japan, the main things that are modified are:

http://i.imgur.com/XsGVvJy.jpg
Luxury Minivans (Toyota Vellfire pictured)
One of the most commonly modified sorts of vehicles in Japan, a country that never invented the "soccer mum" stereotype. Modified minivans are everywhere in Japan, as families can usually only keep one car so a modified luxury minivan can carry the kids, move furniture, cruise in comfort and look pimpin' all at the same time. And they have nice interiors with acres of fake woodgrain, leather captains' chairs and removable seating that can be arranged however you like, so they're no Dodge Caravan.

http://i.imgur.com/ch9Ioaj.jpg
Chromed Kei Cars (Honda N Box Custom pictured)
Fuel is expensive, manoeuvring through narrow city streets is difficult, and insurance and taxes are expensive - so why not get a easy-on-the-wallet kei car and do it up? This is also extremely common in Japan, given the reasons stated above - and modern kei cars with turbocharged engines have enough power for highway driving, and with clever interior design are surprisingly spacious.

http://i.imgur.com/ml9wui3.jpg
VIP Sedans (Nissan Cedric pictured)
Used cars depreciate quickly in Japan, and luxury sedans the most out of all of them. But given that they are rather comfortable and usually have been well-maintained by a mature owner, young people who want to show off decide to get older-model luxury cars for cheap, lower them and put blingy wheels on them. Well, by young folks I actually should say young people who don't live in major cities: the VIP car has a bit of a country reputation associated with it.

http://i.imgur.com/NuIi82C.jpg
Big Scooters (Honda Forza 250 pictured)
If VIP cars are bling for the countryfolk, the big city equivalent is the "big scooter". For some reason Japan never quite got the hang of the "scooters are for vegetarians" stereotype, and these days modified scooters, often with chrome wheels, custom upholstery, tall exhaust pipes and stretched wheelbases are rather popular amongst city-dwelling young people who like to show off. Besides, with ample underseat storage, a virtually maintenance-free driveline and CVTs that are easy in heavy traffic, they are practical in the big city.

Compared to these four main sorts of vehicles, sport coupes and hot hatchbacks are fare less common in Japan - which is an unfortunate reality. With the population continuing to concentrate in large cities and increasing congestion, it's no surprise that the car modifying culture tends to go for looking flashy, practicality and comfort. And don't worry - sports car enthusiasts all over Japan are unhappy that people these days don't care about the joy of driving, either.

91led
14-07-13, 09:35 PM
^ That's pretty much what I've noticed over the last few months I've been here.

People will just generally tart up whatever they've got, as opposed to buying a specific car that they want to use as a 'base'. What Aly mentioned are definitely the most common groups of 'modified' cars you'll see in Japan these days, with the odd something sporty floating around in the mix as well. Seeing things like a Prius V with a drop and CE28s isn't uncommon, though they aren't on every street corner either. Autobacs is more likely to be stocked with large people mover parts (Vellfire, Alphard, etc.) than stuff for S chassis or Evos. That's just the way it is over here now, it seems.

And if you folks think the shithouse exhausts on rice boxes are bad in Australia, you should hear it when someone gives one of those scooters a big fistful of throttle. Just about makes your ears bleed, and it's not really a great noise either...

Prancer
15-07-13, 06:16 AM
Just spent 2 weeks in japan and aly is spot on. Didnt see one eg or ek civic at all. was great lol.

Guys seem to prefer to buy clothes and go out socialising wiyh females

Sent from my GT-I9100T using Motorculture mobile app

eightsixboy
15-07-13, 08:46 AM
I never quite understood how guys here putting stickers all over the rear windows makes there cars 'jdm'. I think the JDM scene here atleast has been ruined by the hella flush and sticker bombing types, they really should stick to destroying commo's.

So glad I didn't go to Japan now as I was meant to go a few years back, would have been very disappointed. But are people really expecting it to be the way its portrayed in the movies?

Block-buster
15-07-13, 10:01 PM
I workmate is married to a japanese lady.

He told me that guys generally dont drive red cars in japan as they look at it as a girl colour. Is this true?

aly in underland
16-07-13, 11:22 AM
I workmate is married to a japanese lady.

He told me that guys generally dont drive red cars in japan as they look at it as a girl colour. Is this true?

It is true that in Japan, red is the colour associated with girls, rather than pink. Regulation school bags are red for girls and navy/black for boys, toilet signs are almost always colour-coded red and blue, and noren (door curtains) on public baths are red for the womens and blue/black/green for the mens side.
http://i.imgur.com/VqcTIXk.jpg
Having said that, Japanese people do know red is a "fast" colour, and people wouldn't find it odd to see a guy driving a red sports car. But given that most people drive hatchbacks (sedans are for taxis, old people and VIP enthusiasts) and women are more likely to drive red hatchbacks, I can see men wanting to go for a more "manly" colour.

Mind you, most Japanese people prefer "sensibly" coloured cars, so few people drive red, orange, yellow, neon green, bright blue etc cars - and they have lower resale value (spot the red car).
http://i.imgur.com/MRGZRuI.jpg

bluesprinter
16-07-13, 11:37 AM
Japan is a country! not a car forum

Glocker
16-07-13, 11:58 AM
Just spent 2 weeks in japan and aly is spot on. Didnt see one eg or ek civic at all. was great lol.

Guys seem to prefer to buy clothes and go out socialising wiyh females

Sent from my GT-I9100T using Motorculture mobile app

cuz you didn't get the invite to the car park

An41
16-07-13, 01:50 PM
I never quite understood how guys here putting stickers all over the rear windows makes there cars 'jdm'. I think the JDM scene here atleast has been ruined by the hella flush and sticker bombing types, they really should stick to destroying commo's.

So glad I didn't go to Japan now as I was meant to go a few years back, would have been very disappointed. But are people really expecting it to be the way its portrayed in the movies?

Im sorry but this just sounds retarded, I'm going to Japan in September to experience a new culture and lifestyle anything car related is just a bonus

Prancer
16-07-13, 03:12 PM
Yea japan is such a great place to visit. Being naked with 20 other japanese dudes in a hot spring is an experience

Sent from my GT-I9100T using Motorculture mobile app

An41
16-07-13, 03:50 PM
Yea japan is such a great place to visit. Being naked with 20 other japanese dudes in a hot spring is an experience

Sent from my GT-I9100T using Motorculture mobile app
lol IM SOLD!

eightsixboy
18-07-13, 08:21 AM
Im sorry but this just sounds retarded, I'm going to Japan in September to experience a new culture and lifestyle anything car related is just a bonus

Well I would have been disappointed, considering I was going to do car related stuff, and from what I've read here it sounds like most guys say its pretty non eventful in that department, especially if you don't know anyone over there.

(Locky)
18-07-13, 07:58 PM
^^
In tokyo ect yes.. but its the similar to sanding in the middle of sydney and expecting mad cars to be everywhere

But at nionmatsu in the country (where ebisu is) I saw heaps of drift cars( obviously) plus a VIP styled car 2 or so a day
Plus some crazy stuff like this
http://sphotos-g.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/s720x720/400455_10151146349928578_1591799170_n.jpg

Plus a bit outside the center of tokyo where there are a lot of car shops saw some stuff too
http://sphotos-b.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/s720x720/376886_10151146350233578_1821448929_n.jpg

http://sphotos-h.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/s720x720/221928_10151146350113578_595581318_n.jpg





Plus in general japan was a mad experience even bar the car stuff

tofu86
27-07-13, 10:43 PM
i've been told that high class eurocars such as s class mercs are often linked to the yakuza. any truth to that?
i've been to japan twice now and have rarely seen those cars. only once did i see 2 of them parked in front of high class night clubs/strip clubs (not sure if thats the right word to describe the venue).. i'm assuming that it may be correct, or a wealthy business executive is getting his jollies.

funny though, there are more elder business men out eating/drinking/enjoying themselves than in any city i've been to in the world..

Prancer
29-07-13, 03:44 AM
I guess when you live in a tiny box you go out for drinks and dinner

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Leekie
31-07-13, 03:30 PM
Amazing post! Very informative, makes me want to visit their scene even more!

xxkimu.supraxx
31-07-13, 09:29 PM
best and most informative thread on jdmst!

great info op

xxkimu.supraxx
31-07-13, 09:30 PM
This is JDM car culture, as told by the next generation of Japanese kids.

http://livedoor.blogimg.jp/amplit/imgs/3/2/328561f7-s.jpg

Panel 1: Enzo Ferrari supercar, •100,000,000
Panel 2: On a normal car, the speedometer only goes up to around 180km/h,
Panel 3: But on this Ferrari, it goes up to 400km/h.
Panel 4: "It doesn't have much legroom, and isn't it impractical?"
Panel 6: "Which one do you want to drive when you grow up?" Supercar: 1 Eco car: 9
Panel 7: "It does look cool, but it only goes 2-3km per litre."
Panel 8: They're too sensible...


Panel 3- is that a boy or girl? :neutral:

Ella Rich
08-08-13, 09:40 PM
That's why Japan is well developed country. Nice Work! Thanks for summarize the actual potential of Japan.

NosferatuzIsGod
05-10-13, 01:13 PM
now I really want to open a car dealership in japan :p