Trying To Buy A Car

I still love the Vitz. It’s like a dream. I could change the CD, drink a coffee, have a smoke AND talk on the phone while driving. If I wanted to. Or if the insurance was fully comp, which it’s not. It’s some sort of third party insurance. I was warned to drive very safely. 


Anyway, I love it. But, it’s not my car. I don’t feel I can take it up the mountains and I certainly can’t smoke in it. I spilled a bit of tea on one of the mats (stupid cupholders are about 2cm deep) and I’m superparanoid about the smell of sour milk. I want my own car. 


The other teacher in the school gives a private lesson once a week to a guy who buys and sells cars for a living. I was told that he could get me a car for 1000-2000 US dollars. Sweet. Apparently he goes to auctions all the time and buys up ex-company cars. Usually they’ve been used in the city and have very low mileage. Once he got one with a tv and satnav. Hopes were high. 


I met the guy last Friday and gave him my requirements. 

1. Big enough to fit a snowboard in (stationwagon, minivan, mini SUV or similar)

2. Long registration (you have to register your car every 2 years and it costs around $1500 each time)

3. Low mileage

4. No heinous problems


I thought that these parameters were pretty wide. We looked at a bunch of cars online. He convinced me to raise my upper financial limit because once you go over $2000 you get into very good cars. He said he’d look through the dealer network site properly and get back to me before the auction on Saturday. Alternatively, I could buy his Mazda Familia which was parked outside for just $500. He had bought a new car and needs rid of it because he doesn’t have a legal parking space for it. 


So there was silence for a week. Tonight (Friday, the night before the auction) I got an email offering me four possible cars. All have over 100,000km on them. All are over 10 years old. None have a registration longer than a year (one has no registration at all) and one possibly needs a new timing belt. I live in the car-making capital of Japan. There are a LOT of cars in the prefecture. How on earth can he only find four cars? Of course, every single one of them is right at the top of my affordability scale. Within 100 dollars or so. I thought about it. I hummed and hawed. I talked to my friend. 


I called the guy back and asked if there were any smaller cars. He sent me a photo of an old Nissan Micra, also right at the borders of affordability. I don’t know if you know what a micra is, but google it. This is a tiny car.  And old. And with high mileage. You could not sell this car in Europe in a million years, never mind in Japan, land of cars. 


Eventually, I decided to ask him about his own Mazda. He sent an email with details of engine size, registration dates etc, along with the price. 


$2300. Say what? Was the very same car not for sale for just $500 one week ago? 


Somehow I suspect I’m being taken for a ride. 


Tomorrow I’m going to drive around and have a look at some car dealerships. My Japanese ability is still severely limited, but I know the basic words – how much, registration, engine size etc. Hopefully this will work out better than the shambles that has been the search so far. 


I’m annoyed that this guy would try to screw me so badly. It’s not like I work at a giant business-type school in a city. It’s a very small town. My boss lives above the school. There are two classrooms and we teach kids. There are a few (I think 3) adult classes a week but mostly it’s a circus of parents, grandparents and kids with their shorts pulled up to their armpits. 


I guess I’m still a bit innocent.


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