I finally bought a car this past week. I guess I should same something about it being the first car I ever bought but I'm definitely past buying a car now. I waited so long because I just didn't want to drop the money on the three cars I saw. They either didn't have a back seat, were too old, or too expensive. Some a combination of both. The best price was about 1,200 dollars for a very small 4 door car with over 150,000km driven on it. This included about 1 1/2 years until the next inspection which is necessary every two years to drive. It was a decent car but it should have only been worth the remaining inspection so I didn't buy it. The lightweight kei cars in Japan are generally more expensive because more people want them. They have lower taxes and costs as well.
On the other hand if you want to pay a lower price up front but eat some higher costs later you can get a regular car which is basically the kind of car you drive in America. The vice principal contacted his friend over in another town to see if anything was available. He had two possible options. The following is what I decided to get.
It is a 2003 Honda Fit with about 107,000km on it. This thing is pretty nice. Total it cost me about 1,100 dollars with new tires included in that. Compared to the small kei cars I looked at the price was better up front and I got something that is newer and nicer. I probably could have bought an older regular car for a cheaper price but I didn't want to wait any longer. I think the price was fairly low because if it wasn't sold, it would be sent to the scrapyard for a few hundred bucks. So the people on the other end make a bit of money and I get a pretty good value car. I will have to pay for a new inspection come February and probably a vehicle tax sometime next year so my cost might be more around 2,500 dollars.
Yet, the plus side to paying more is that I have a 1300cc engine compared to the 660cc ones the small cars have. My Honda Fit can devour mountain roads and hills with ease. There is no doubt you CAN take a kei car up a mountain but you can only hope the engine doesn't melt or cut out on you. Even with a bigger engine I still get about 15km a liter which works out to about something like 30 miles a gallon. The steering is pretty tight and the brakes are some of the most sensitive I have ever experienced. It will take some getting used to. The space in the back of my Fit is awesome. I can lay the back seats down and make the entire back space flat. I could probably sleep back there. I will definitely be trying that because I intend to hike to some mountain peaks in the early morning hours to catch some sunrises. I can also fold the back seats up and make more room behind the front seats. It is quite convenient.
The only slight complaint I have about the car is that the inside can be a tad noisy when driving at higher speeds. I think it's a combination of the road surfacing and the car design. I don't think it makes or breaks the purchase. The condition of the car all around and the abundant space make up for any little quirks. I just hope no mechanical problems pop during my ownership. The worst I ever had with the Camry was a dead battery and replacing the tires.
My life has almost stabilized.
At orientation back in August all the other JETs had bought cell phones already. I thought I would get one sooner but as time moves forward I feel less inclined to actually buy one. I haven't met many people I would contact regularly enough for it to be worthwhile. I suppose it might be good for if I get stranded somewhere but what did people do 15 years ago? They figured it out. I have to keep up my mysteriousness somehow and a cellphone doesn't help that cause.
I'm happy though. My Fit and I are ready to conquer some mountains.