cars

Man parks over sidewalk guide for the blind, gets lesson in manners from Okinawan fourth-grader

There’s still a lot of room for improvement regarding the availability of elevators in Japan’s train stations and other public facilities, but the country doesn’t have a totally sub-par record in helping the disabled retain their mobility. For example, on the sidewalks of most moderately large streets, you’ll find a row of bumps that operate as a guide for blind pedestrians, indicating not only any curves in the walkway but also warning of intersections and steps ahead.

Obviously, good manners dictate keeping the path clear, but in all that empty space one Japanese motorist saw a perfectly-placed parking spot. And while Japanese culture often errs on the side of not sticking your nose in other people’s business, it looks like one elementary school student couldn’t let this go without giving the driver a piece of his mind, even if the inconsiderate owner wasn’t anywhere to be found right then.

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New smartphone game turns car models into anime girls with model-worthy looks

For generations, automobile marketers have relied a tried and true method. Whether it’s an elegantly dressed woman stepping out of a luxury sedan in a TV commercial or a mini-skirted model draped over the hood of a sports coupe at an auto show, a quick way to make a car look appealing is by showing it next to an appealing-looking woman.

The company Autoc One is taking that concept one step further, though. What if, instead of showing a cute girl next to the car, you made the car itself a cute girl? You’d end up with something like Shanago Collection, Autoc One’s smartphone game starring anthropomorphized cars from Mazda, Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, and more.

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Make your business memorable with a license plate phone number

There’s a lot to be seen and learned from your car seat while driving on the roads around Japan. While cat-patterned tail-lightsunique modes of communication and building your own Batman bike are some of the more obvious ways to get noticed, there are also more subtle yet equally effective ways to create an impact in traffic, and do a bit of advertising while you’re at it!

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Ouch! Ouch!! Ouch!!! Man in China hit by three cars while “crossing” the street

Context is everything in determining what constitutes a long time. For example, if your boss rewards you for finishing up a long, difficult project by permitting you to take a seven-second vacation, I’m guessing you’d find that amount of time to be less than sufficient. On the other hand, if I asked you to calm a hamster that’s both frenzied and weaponized by pressing it firmly against the warmth of your breast for seven seconds, I have a hunch that’s longer than you’d be willing to hold out for.

Seven seconds is also way too long to be chilling in the middle of the road as you cross the street. That sort of lollygagging is liable to get you hit by a car, or, if you’re this man in China, three of them.

While you won’t see any blood or gore, be aware that this article’s title is not a clever play on words, and it really does contain video of a dude getting hit by multiple automobiles.

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What happens when you mistake the brake for the accelerator in Japan

Parking can be tricky sometimes, but when you’re trying to manoeuvre a large vehicle around tight spaces in a Japanese carpark, things can get a little scary.

Thankfully nobody was hurt in the accident pictured above, yet after the photo was posted on Twitter there was one thing everyone wanted to know: how come the rear wheels were hanging in mid-air?

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Things to pick up at 7-Eleven: Milk, melon bread, Evangelion sports car

Last summer, we thought the heat might have been getting to the executives at 7-Eleven. Sure, offering two-meter (six-foot, seven-inch) tall Evangelion statues as special promotional prizes was a cool idea and all, but did they really expect anyone to pony up the 1,836,000 yen (US$16,000) they were asking for the 25 more giant figures they was selling outright?

Well, not only did all 25 of those Eva statues find homes, they sold out in just two minutes. Emboldened by that success, 7-Eleven has teamed up once again with the hit anime franchise to release the most expensive item the convenience store has ever sold: the Evangelion car.

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Want to see right through your car? Amazing video projection system lets drivers do just that

Almost all of my time behind the wheel has been in a small, two-seat convertible. This has really spoiled me, in that whenever I find myself in the driver’s seat of a fixed-top, full-sized car, I can’t help but wish for better visibility because of how many lines of sight get cut off by the car’s structure itself.

A team of Japanese researchers has solved this problem, though, with a clever system that allows the driver to see right through a car’s side panels and back seat.

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Chinese woman in no mood to have SUV towed shows she has towing capacity too 【Video】

Given my pick of cars, I’ll always chose the one with rear-wheel drive. All else equal, it tends to give more maneuverability than front-wheel drive, and weigh less than an all-wheel setup.

Still, there are times when it’s good to be able to put power down through your front tires, as shown by this video of a Chinese woman’s daring rescue of her about-to-be-towed car.

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Shocking, snowy commercial is the saddest ad we’ve seen this fall

Last year, we found terror in an unlikely place: a tire commercial. Wheel and tire retailer Autoway, in an effort to remind us all about changing to winter tires before driving down snowy roads, reminded us all that “Winter roads are scary,” especially when they’re haunted.

Now, Autoway is back with a new ad, and while it doesn’t deliver the fright of last year’s video, it’s no less shocking.

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China and the US have very different stereotypes for the same cars

The Chinese auto market is a young one, but it is already the world’s biggest, and a key region for the global auto industry.

But to sell cars there, it’s more than a question of translating manuals and opening a few dealerships.

Over the last 30 years, according to the New York Times, the Chinese public has also formed some very strong opinions as to who drives a particular make and model and why — and those views are often at odds with how brands are perceived in the U.S.

For non-Chinese automakers, understanding those perceptions is key to putting more cars on the road.

[An earlier version of this article was written by Alex Davies and Travis Okulski.]

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How to say every Japanese car brand’s name, and what they mean 【Video】

In college, I had a classmate who, almost every day, would talk about the list of tuning mods he had planned for his car. Sometimes, he’d talk about his plans to order some sweet JDM parts from Honda’s in-house aftermarket division, Mugen, and you can’t imagine how much it drove me up the walls.

I didn’t begrudge the guy his daydream, but what I couldn’t take was the way he pronounced it “Myu-gen” instead of “Moo-gen,” adding in a phantom Y sound that has no place in the Japanese word for “without limits.”

But hey, a lot of people in the U.S. mispronounce it that way, and can you blame them? Pronouncing foreign words can be tricky, which is why there’s now a video which will teach you the correct way to pronounce the names of all of Japan’s major car makers. And, once you’ve mastered them all, we’ll even explain what they mean.

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Japanese racer takes million dollar Ferrari on camping trip, fries eggs on it

There’s just something about young men ostentatiously showing off their expensive wheels that gets to us. And then some of them have to go that extra mile and start doing things like frying eggs on their million dollar cars, just because they can.

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Did a Dragon Quest slime car just appear on the expressway in Japan?

As fun as it is to step into the shoes of a video game RPG hero for a few hours, imagine how it would be to live your whole life, day in and day out, under the in-game rules and systems. Some of the differences would be pretty inconvenient, such as a mysterious force preventing you from ever going anywhere with more than three friends at a time. Others would be a definite plus, though, such as working hard at your job periodically making you not only more intelligent, but stronger, faster, and luckier, too.

But perhaps the weirdest change would be knowing that anytime you left your neighborhood and wanted to go from Point A to Point B, there was a chance of monsters randomly appearing, like two Japanese businessmen thought was happening to them when they spotted what looked like a Dragon Quest slime car on the expressway.

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Smartphone GPS system lets you bring your favorite anime voices along for the ride

Almost none of the streets in Japan have names, and even when they do, civil planners are pretty haphazard about putting up signs to let you know what they are. As a result, it’s hard to get anywhere in a car without a GPS system guiding you.

But after enough time behind the wheel, you might find yourself getting bored of the default voice chirping out you to “make a right turn in 30 meters.” So if you’re feeling a little burned out on your navigation system, or nabi as it’s known in Japan, now might be the time to update it with the voice of Evangelion’s Asuka, Attack on Titan’s Arumin, or one of dozens of other available anime characters.

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Ordinarily-looking van gets transformed into amazing Japanese-style living room 【Video】

There are two paradigms you can aim for in designing a car. One is a great vehicle, accelerating, turning, and braking with speed and precision. The other is a great living or hotel room, with stylish interior appointments and spacious seating.

The owner of this van is obviously in the second camp, and has modified his ride so that it doesn’t look anything like a car on the inside, but rather a Japanese inn on wheels.

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Toyota owner goes crazy with new driver marks, earns a little extra lane space on the road

Japan has a couple of unique automotive regulations. For example, every other year cars have to undergo an extensive inspection to make sure they’re being properly maintained and haven’t been illegally modified (although you can get away with some pretty interesting modifications in the 24 months between checks). You have to make a full stop at all railroad crossings, regardless of whether or not there’s a train coming.

For new drivers, there’s even an additional rule, which states that for their first year on the road, they have to put a large sticker on their car advising surrounding motorists to be extra careful. But while the law states the vehicle must bear two stickers, one on the front and one on the rear, there’s apparently no upper limit, as one proud owner recently demonstrated.

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Vroom-vroom, meow-meow! Driver mods his taillights into awesome “Toro” cat patterns

In Japan, all cars have to undergo a vehicle inspection called shaken every two years. The ostensible reason is to make sure each part of the car is in safe, working condition, but some motorists suspect the real reasons are to bilk additional streams of revenue from owners, as well as encourage them to trade in their current cars for new models, which can go three years before their first shaken.

The system does have one upside for enthusiasts. Since cars get officially inspected every other year, traffic cops in Japan aren’t nearly as zealous as their U.S. counterparts about issuing fix-up tickets for questionable modifications they spot on the street. This means that during the two-year period between shaken checks, you have a decent chance of getting away with illegal engine mods, non-compliant body kits, or awesome grey-area cat tail lights.

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Chibatman called in by police, receives their official approval

A few weeks ago, a handful of motorists in Chiba Prefecture witnessed a sight few of us will ever be fortunate enough to see: a man dressed as Batman riding a customized trike, speeding down the expressway. Chibatman, as he soon came to be known, quickly caught the attention of not only comic fans around the world, but also the local police, who recently called the Caped Crusader in for a little chat.

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Long live the Roadster! We attend the world premiere of Mazda’s all-new Miata 【Video】

Mazda’s Roadster, also known as the Miata and MX-5, hit showrooms in 1989 and became an instant hit. In the years since, though, doomsayers have emerged every time a competing automaker releases a would-be rival, with predictions having been made that the BMW Z3, Porsche Boxter, Mercedes-Benz SLK, Toyota MR-S, Honda S2000, Pontiac Solstice, and Saturn Sky were all going to kill Mazda’s lightweight open sports car.

The three German cars are still around, although now at price points so far above the Roadster’s that they’re really not in competition with the Japanese Mazda. As for those other pretenders to the affordable convertible crown? All dead and buried. The Roadster’s even outlasted some of those companies, as Pontiac and Saturn have both shut down entirely.

With this history of success, it must have been tempting for Mazda to spend all of the Roadster’s 25th anniversary celebration patting itself on the back for a job well done. Instead, the automaker from Hiroshima chose to do fans one better, by unveiling the fourth generation of the world’s best-selling two-seat sports car.

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Batman spotted cruising the Japanese expressways as he trades Gotham City for Chiba Prefecture

As a car-loving foreigner living in Japan, for me, any cruise around Tokyo can suddenly turn into an automotive photo safari. Japan has tons of cool domestic cars which were never exported to the U.S., and whenever I come across one in the wild, I feel the need to whip out my camera for a few photos.

But while I’m happy my photo collection includes snapshots of Mazda AZ-1s and Subaru 22B Imprezas, motorists in Chiba Prefecture recently spotted something even rarer, in the form of a street-legal trike being ridden by none other than Batman!

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