I know that in my last post about work I griped about my boss. 


Well, I take it all back. Today I saw some mock-up posters for the new ads. She had me look over them to make sure I looked presentable and shock – I did. She told me that if I didn’t like the pictures she would change them, but I think they’re fine. Not exactly Vogue material, but fine. 


For the last few weeks I’ve been talking about getting a car. Out here in the sticks it’s hard to get around without one. I have my trusty old mamachari (mama-chariot, an old lady bike) and sometimes I walk, but getting to the nearest city involves two trains. Bringing home groceries is hard too, I live on a hill, the shop is at the bottom. It has been fine for six months, but then winter hit and I bought a kerosene heater. Trying to get 25 litres of kerosene home on a bike? An exercise in humiliation. I get stared at enough. The final reason is that I want to go snowboarding. I could get a coach, but it would be a long trip for one day of snowboarding. Buses leave early so it would be a short day. Staying the night would be hard too, there’s precious little public transport up in the resorts. These are the things I tell myself I need a car for. I’ve almost convinced myself I need one, rather than want one. Have I convinced you yet? 


Anyway, I was talking about this whole car-buying jazz with my boss. About how it’s going to be a bit of a pain trying to buy one through Japanese, going to look for one etc. She remarked that it’s kind of difficult to buy a car without a car. All the driving to dealerships, getting all the paperwork done and so on. 


Then, the most beautiful English sentences I’ve ever heard in Japan came out of the woman’s mouth. 


“You know, the school leases a car. My mom has it now because she hasn’t bought a new car yet. She has a little truck too though. You want to borrow the car til you buy one?”




I have to pay for gas, but the lease, insurance, registration and tax are taken care of. It’s a newish Toyota Vitz (known as a Yaris or an Echo in other countries). It’s 1.5 litres, has two doors and is automatic. 


I’ve owned a few cars in my time, all have been manual. I always secretly looked down on drivers of automatic cars because, well, it’s not really driving is it? It’s a glorified bumper car! I’m eating my words with relish. It’s so easy to drive. This thing is tiny, but the engine is big the size and it’s a nippy little thing. I love driving it. 


So far I’ve driven out to a giant supermarket in a nearby town and stocked up on all sorts of food I can’t get in my town. I bought kerosene for the heater. I went out for dinner with my friend in her town and it only took 20 minutes door to door (instead of over an hour on trains), AND I could stay out after 10.30 (the last train). 

Even better than the driving? The looks I get from the locals at intersections. They never expect a blonde foreigner to be behind the wheel – I always burn them at the lights!


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