Stripes

I totally just smoked this guy who wanted to race, on the way home. I’ve been a really good boy and not given into temptation until today, but this guy was a total asshole and cut me off. He was in a fast VW hatchback, so I gave him the lead for a while and let him eat my xenons. Then I passed him in the outside lane and that was that, because there was no way he could keep up. Not much to it, but it felt really good. This sleeper car of mine has earned its stripes. Someone has contacted me with an offer to install a custom Y-pipe without the 2 pre-cats I have on the stock system now. Don’t need it, though. It felt really good to smoke that guy; brought back the way I used to feel driving the Silvia at night on the coastal highway back home.

Note to self: Don’t race with wife in car. It still upsets her for some reason.

my new car

The overnight bus departs from Sarakham at 9:15 and arrives at Bangkok sometime after three in the morning. We took the “VIP” bus which costs another forty or fifty baht, yet is great value for the money since you get a hot meal, a bottle of water, and comfortable seating.
We stayed at Nam’s aunt’s house in Lad Prao and set out the next morning in search of a used car. Surprisingly, this was fun. I shocked a couple of dealers by showing them evidence of past accidents on their cars, so I guess the average Thai buyer is about as knowledgeable as the average American buyer. There was a lot less smooth talk than I expected, though. Of all the dealers we talked to, only one followed up with a phone call the next day. Altogether, there was little pressure to immediately commit to anything, which made for a nice experience. What made it even nicer was the car I decided on:

Love at first sight
That’s a Nissan Cefiro with a 3-liter V6 engine (which is important, since almost all of those imported into Thailand only have a 2-liter engine. Too wimpy.). As of writing this, there are only two others for sale in the whole country that I can find, and only one in black (I don’t care that it shows dirt and I don’t care that it absorbs heat, I like black cars). It’s slightly modified with aero kit and alloy seventeens, and it looks absolutely stunning in person. The sound system is crap, which is just how I wanted it since I like doing that part myself. I can’t believe I have to wait another two weeks to drive it!
Now all I need to do is bring it out here to the rice fields and build a car port for it.

In a world of white Toyotas…

I have to admit, Mitsuoka makes some real works of art; they stand out from everything else on the street. Take a look at their lineup.
My favorite, of course is the Le-Seyde, which is built on the body of a 180SX (the sister model of my beloved Silvia S-13). I used to see these driving around once a year or so (they were always white), but I haven’t seen one for quite a while.
In some cities in Japan, they use the TX-II or the viewt as actual taxi cabs – and riding around in one is a welcome break from the ubiquitous old Crown cabs.

Radar Detector

iDSP_001.jpg
My trusty cheap-ass radar detector. I go through one of these every couple years which is how long it takes for the solar panels/battery to run down. I need to run it solar because my Silvia’s cigarette lighter is broken. Come to think of it, that’s a problem I’ve seen on many Silvias, as well as the 240/180sx. Design flaw, methinks.

Shakoshomei

Even though I’ve lived here on Awaji Island for nearly five years, I was registered at my friend’s house in Nara until last month. Basically, there was no reason to change my address officially until this year, when the immigration laws got stricter, plus I fucking hate having to tell the government where I live just on principle…
Just one of the many pains in the ass involves re-registering my car out here (in Kobe, actually), and in order to do that, I need a shakoshomei, which is proof that you have an approved place to park. If you live in a house, this might be your driveway or garage, but if you rent an apartment, like I do, you have to provide proof that you are renting a space somewhere.
This is an incredibly irritating process that takes a trip down to the local police station at least twice, once to apply and once to pick up the actual document, which is issued after an inspector goes to visit the parking space you have specified in the application (you actually have to provide two maps, one of the parking space in relation to your home, and another, more detailed map of the parking area with dimensions, etc. Most people hand-draw this stuff, but I, uber-nerd, did the work in Illustrator – may post it later so you can come egg my Silvia).
Anyway, after this long, drawn out process had gotten to its final stage, I was ready to pick up the document late last week. Before work, I went to the police station (cue: oh happy day) with my trusty hanko (personal seal used in place of signature) only to be told that the guy in charge wasn’t in. The fact that just speaking to the police in Japan – about just about anything, really – always puts me in the foulest of moods, only compounded my irritation at being brushed off because the designated desk jockey (and public fucking servant I might add) decided to make a run for the bento shop during normal operating hours. Whatever. I decided to jump through all the hoops when I decided to make the move out here official, so I sucked it up and went to work.
I didn’t have time to go again until yesterday. I walked into the police station all pimped out in my spiffy work uniform (complete with nametag; this is a Japanese white-collar job, thankyouverymuch) and requested service at the desk. This time, the balding desk sergeant in charge was there (oh joy), fat ass parked firmly in a seat with a bead cushion draped over it. He looks over my approval forms, sees they’re all in order, then announces to no one in general, “the window for processing shakoshomei is from 3 to 5 PM, please come back then.”
Me: “fuck, as in what the?”
Cop: “3 to 5”
Me: “But there ain’t nobody else here now! C’mon! ”
Cop: “Morning hours are reserved for driver’s license-related issues only – COME BACK BETWEEN 3 AND 5!”
Me: “THERE AIN’T NOBODY ELSE HERE – c’mon, cut me a break already. Pleeeeeease. Pretty please with azuki on the top.”
Cop: “Ungh.” (loosely translated: “wutevaaaa”)
Grrrrr. So I had to take off work early and got back to the police station just before 5. As I approach the desk sergeant, who I swear has not moved a single fucking inch since I last saw him several hours before and is now half-heartedly playing with pencils and rubber bands, looks up at me, then glances at the clock, gathers the approval papers again and says, “hehheh, you made it just in time.”
Motherfucker!
And as he stamps my hanko in the logbook and gives me the magic papers, he replies “I wouldn’t have minded if you came in a little later. I’m here until 7:00 anyway.”
I bit down on my lower lip, hard, and concentrated on quietly exiting the building.
As a good friend once put it, “why are cops such fucking cunts?”
UPDATE:
shakoshomei.gif