Going Far, Far Away


I have wheels. Maybe I will snap a photo, but the link earlier in the week gives the general idea. Last night my contact and his contact, the car salesman, brought the car to me. Technically the car is not mine yet, but they were happy to leave it with me; it is nice to have good connections who trust you. They didn’t even want my money, but I forced them to take it. No need to carry the envelope with 136,000 yen around in my pocket if I just hand it over.

Officially the car is a 1994 Mazda Autozam Carol Me Lady. The Autozam line of cars is sold by Mazda, but mine was actually made by Suzuki. It may be that all Autozam are made by Suzuki, but I am far to lazy to research that right now. Carol is the car model and Me Lady is a sub-model (or option package), much like the original Toyota Tercel was actually a Corolla Tercel before branching to its own model.

The word Carol appears on the tailgate and Me Lady is pleasantly printed on the body side. Conventional wisdom is that kei cars are for ladies, because they are efficient. The idea that women would consider efficiency and men would not, probably stems from the reality that, until recently, most women would work at low-paying jobs until marrying. Most women could not afford a more expensive car, nor the fuel bill. There are, however,  some kei cars that are designed to look like SUVs for men and many farmers drive kei trucks in the shape of vans, pick-ups, or flat beds.

The name of my car and the fact that it has features like three places to hang purses, indicate that it is probably for women. The passenger seat cushion has a center piece which can be removed and hung on a purse hook, making a recessed spot for placing groceries or something to keep stuff from rolling around. I thought that was fun and used it this morning. Fortunately, the paint is black and the interior is a very neutral gray with some (non-pastel) blue and rose highlights. The rag top could be fun in the warm weather and hopefully doesn’t leak. The rear spoiler fin is presumably of no practical use, but it is there. The engine makes some interesting noises, which I will try to diagnose over the next couple months, but it gets around all right with its 650cc ‘power plant’.

After showing it to Joli Mama and her oldest daughter at the nearby hair salon, I headed to a Mexican restaurant in a location removed from train stations. I only go there a couple times a year because I have to go by bike, so I decided it was a good way to remind myself why I wanted a motorized vehicle. This weekend or next, I will probably choose a site away from stations and bus stops for a short trip.


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