You Know You Have Been In Japan For Too Long, If ...

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

I was still a little shook-up from the treatment administered by Matsuda-san, and it must have shown. “Why don’t you get some fresh air?” was the polite Japanese suggestion.

An Infiniti G37 Convertible was the appropriate way to enhance the flow of seaside breeze around my still pale nose. I sat down. Buckled up. Pushed start. Put the 7 speed automatic into drive. Put my hands on the steering wheel. However …

… there was no steering wheel. The spot where they have a steering wheel in countries such as Japan, the UK, Australia, Hong Kong, Thailand, and the U.S. Virgin Islands gave me a nicely appointed, but nonetheless blank stare. I sat in the right place.

But I was slipped an export model, with the steering on the left. Sheepishly, I traded places. Everybody pretended not to have seen.

Bertel Schmitt
Bertel Schmitt

Bertel Schmitt comes back to journalism after taking a 35 year break in advertising and marketing. He ran and owned advertising agencies in Duesseldorf, Germany, and New York City. Volkswagen A.G. was Bertel's most important corporate account. Schmitt's advertising and marketing career touched many corners of the industry with a special focus on automotive products and services. Since 2004, he lives in Japan and China with his wife <a href=""> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href=""> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.

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  • Lutecia Lutecia on Nov 06, 2011

    I also have had my shares of LHD and RHD cars (respectively 3 and 1 currently) and i frequently open the passenger door, or drive on the wrong side of the road... But you can't match the French cars. They don't change most stuff ... My RHD Clio has the bonnet release on the passenger side (close to the door) same for the seatbelt warning light (at the left of the satnav screen, so on the passenger side), the handbrake is closer to the passenger seat too (they squeezed the cruise control main switch there). Plenty little details, but at least the wipers are wiping from left to right, unlike the previous model!

  • Ringomon Ringomon on Nov 07, 2011

    Every so often when walking out to the car my wife, who is Japanese, goes and stands next to the driver's door. (I was going to write "my Japanese wife", but that sounded like I had multiple wives of different nationalities). I say, "Oh, are you going to drive?" She says: "matigaetta." (whoops- wrong side.)

  • Bob65688581 We bought zillions of German cars, despite knowing about WWII slave labor. Refusing to buy something for ideological reasons is foolish.Both the US and the EU have imposed tariffs, so the playing field is level. I'll buy the best price/quality, regardless of nationality.Another interesting question would be "Would you buy one of the many new European moderate-price EVs?" but of course they aren't sold here.Third interesting question: "Why won't Stellantis sell its best products in America?"
  • Freshblather No. Worried there will be malicious executable code built into the cars motherboard that could disable the Chinese cars in the event of hostilities between the west and China.
  • Bd2 Absolutely not - do not want to support a fascist, totalitarian regime.
  • SCE to AUX The original Capri was beautiful. The abomination from the 90s was no Capri, and neither is this.It looks good, but too similar to a Polestar. And what's with the whacked price?
  • Rover Sig Absolutely not. Ever.