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Email: Greetings from Japan – Cars


Date: Friday, 21 June 2002 01:48 PDT
Subject: Greetings from Japan – Cars

As most people know, Japan is a very homogeneous culture. Los Angeles boasts of people from more than 100 countries. An interesting contrast from the people who live here is the cars they drive.

The big automakers here are Honda, Toyota, Nissan and Mitsubishi. At least, these are the makes I see when I walk along the street. Japan has some of the same models… the Toyota Corolla for example. I saw two Chevy Cameros. I also saw a VW Golf.

There are several models here that go under a different name. For example, the Toyota 4Runner is the Hilux Surf. The Toyota Previa is the Emina (no kidding). The Integra make doesn’t exist here. So, instead of a Acura Legend it is the Honda Legend. Same with the Integra. The Mitsubishi 3000 is the GTO (the name of a US muscle car from the 60s).

Another interesting fact is the sheer number of models. Toyota takes this prize. I counted 10! Some of the names are interesting: Crown Comfort (used for Taxis both here and Hong Kong), the Platz (really small like the Ford Focus), the Premia, the Sprinter, the Soarer, the Majestic and the Noah (a van).

Kristen found a funny one: the Daihatsu Minica Guppy. Nissan has a small van called the Vanette. Suzuki has the Carry (a pickup).

We are in Nagano today. It is in the Japanese Alps and of course the site of the Winter Olympics. We are staying in a Buddhist monastery near the large temple in the center of the city. The monastery is over 100 years old. Today we went to the temple here and then took a train ride is nearby city called Matsumoto to see one of the few surviving castles in Japan.

Hope everyone is doing well,