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Boxy but good

By Ignatius Rake, Japan

Posted April 20, 2018
cars in japan, yeah?
Vroom! Vroom! A Japanese car in Japan yesterday. © Ignatius Rake

Cars in Japan, yeah?

For someone who couldn't give a toss about cars, it is perhaps odd that the one thing I really notice when I travel is the differnt types of vehicles people drive about in.

When, for example, I first landed in Poland at the turn of the century, I couldn't help clocking (and photographing) the tiny Fiat 126P Maluchs that, locally produced during the commie era, were then, but sadly not now, so utterly ubiquitous.

In Japan, where they drive on the left like in Blighty, the thing that keeps catching my eye other than the shocking beer prices is the awkwardly-angular small cars and vans that scurry about the place like benign little beetles.

And each time I see one I'm reminded of the Dudley Moore film Crazy People, in which a mental patient charged with devising a new Volvo advert hits upon the slogan: "Boxy but Good".

But while I can't say for sure that the cars in question here are good, they are most definitely boxy.

Indeed, the only way to describe them accurately is to say that they look just like the cars you see drawn in Viz cartoons.

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Moreover, while these cars are compact in length – making them an idea city runaround, I assume – they all seem to have remarkably high roofs, as though the ultimate claim to machismo here is not my car's bigger than yours but my car's taller than yours.

It's a bit like the mod haircuts in series one of The Mighty Boosh, if you've seen episode 5.

Now, I'm no aeronautical engineer, but to my mind these jam jars can't be very aerodynamic.

Sleek they are not.

But flippin' 'eck, do I love 'em!

And trust me, I would dearly love for someone to drive me around the streets of Saitama in one.

Especially if she owns a brewery.

Or even an off licence for that matter.

Anyway, I could go on but I can't be arsed.

So, here's some ropey pics what I done, innit?

boxy cars in japan
Kawaii or what? How could you get road rage in a thing like that? © Ignatius Rake

boxy cars in japan
Silver machine: Hawkwind's van seen parked in Kawagoe. © Ignatius Rake

boxy cars in japan
Like a walk-in-bath on wheels: The first one's actually a Ferrari. © Ignatius Rake

boxy cars in japan
Nice dimensions: Perfect for parking in a shop. © Ignatius Rake

boxy cars in japan
Or down the temple: Bless 'em both. © Ignatius Rake

boxy cars in japan
Smart! Note the curved glass corner to avoid a blind spot when reversing. © Ignatius Rake

boxy cars in japan
Not every car's boxy, mind: But clock that one in the middle! © Ignatius Rake

boxy cars in japan
Easy to drive: Even a dog can do it. © Ignatius Rake

boxy cars in japan
Not boxy: But I like it. © Ignatius Rake

boxy cars in japan
Not just cars: Check out that motherluvin' moped thing! © Ignatius Rake

boxy cars in japan
And here it is again: A bike that looks like a sidecar. © Ignatius Rake

boxy cars in japan
And then there's that thing: Belongs to the local A-Team, apparently. © Ignatius Rake

See also Cherry-blossom tramps, posted 5/4/18.

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Ignatius Rake is a journalist, geographer, filmmaker, artist, singer and life-long fortean who blew the lid on the 2017 Eden UFO hoax. He has so far visited 75 countries on six continents. When not travelling, he divides his time between Cornwall and Poland. You can view some of his art here.

Engage with the Rake & Herald on FaceBook here and Twitter here. Better still, buy a T-shirt here.

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