We have a black Daihatsu Mira with a manual transmission. It's super tiny. It was only $500 and it runs fine. My supervisor said that he would not have let me buy a five-hundred dollar car if we hadn’t known the previous owner, another JET and her husband. We were asking around for a car and I was hooked up with Caitlyn. She moved out of our building with the last JET exodus. Apparently, she had stopped by and knocked on our door to see if we wanted it, but we didn't answer. From hearing the details of the story, I think we were home, but didn't hear the door (we never hear the door).
So, we went to the dealership down the hill from our place and found her car. This dealership has about 20 cars parked in one line and sits on a lot that tapers off between the road and the hill. They have two cats and a half size trailer where paper work is done. We test drove the car and then slipped our shoes off before stepping into the trailer. A couple of car salesmen, an insurance salesman, my supervisor, Peter, and Knox, joined me in trailer. I put my inken on all of the important papers and paid. The only thing left was to wait for permission from my building manager. That's right. To buy a car in Japan you must provide proof that you have somewhere to park it. One of the car salesmen had to go to my building and talk to my manager before we could take the car home, which I did the next day.
If I may interject, some JETs are not allowed to have a car, and some have to wait weeks and weeks to get all of the required permission slips from school. I was lucky, but I heard that a JET in recent years got in a pretty bad accident and didn't have adequate insurance to cover the damage and the medical expenses. This caused a lot of grief for the school that employed him, so they started making these rules, even though all they have to do, as they did with me, is make sure you have full coverage.
I had to be the driver at first because Peter didn't know stick. Driving this car for the first time, for the first few days, stressed me out to a crazy degree. My head wanted to explode the first day, driving stick on unfamiliar roads, driving on the other side of the road, with the turn signals on the other side of the wheel, and the wheel on the other side of the car. "No, It’s not raining, I’m just an American trying to turn, and that is why my windshield wipers are on." The 2nd day it was better and by the 4th day it was okay. I figure I built a bunch of brain pathways this way. Hopefully it will make up for all of the ones I’ve killed.
My neighbor bought a brand new Nissan March for about $12k and is shipping it with her to her next destination. We want to, but it might not be worth it. But how cool would it be?