MGRv8 - The Dream Machine
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Use of cars in Japan part 1.

Less use of cars in Japan

With superb and inexpensive cars, beautiful countryside and perfectly maintained major roads you might think it would make Japan a motorists' paradise. Unfortunately as land is scarce in the inhabitable areas of Japan leading to large crowded cities and dormitory areas some considerable distance from major cities, the reality tends to be congested urban areas and costly toll roads which take the fun out of long distance and commuting car travel. Holiday schedules are tight with short vacations and traffic jams on toll highways of longer than 100 kms are common on major holidays such as the Golden Week, Obon and New Year. Colin even mentions that portable toilets for use in the car are a necessary accessory when faced with such congestion! The efficient rail and subway transportation system is always preferred for daily commuting and the Shinkansen (bullet train) takes care of more serious long distance travel needs.

Cars are generally well cared for in Japan

The condition of cars in Japan tends to be very good as they tend to be used less in Japan than in other countries and suffer less abuse in the hands of Japanese owners. Washing and waxing cars is done with a quasi religious fervour, and even in modest income districts one can hardly find any neglected vehicles. Most cars, even highly tuned performance cars or sports utility vehicles are never used to their full potential and spend their entire life in extended local neighbourhood and urban use and/or proudly displayed on courtyards. That good quality (condition and lower average mileage) is further enhanced because cars manufactured in Japan intended for domestic use are always designed to higher specifications than export versions. In the case of the RV8, there was a higher specification for the models supplied to the Japanese market which included air-conditioning - a feature which is particularly popular with Australian RV8 enthusiasts.

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