by Pa RockI learned this morning that the Clampett mansion (10th floor, view of the Pacific) had been ripped out from under me. This afternoon my poor, hapless housing agent, Marianne, took me to see an apartment by a nice stretch of public beach in a desirable location. I didn't like the apartment for several reasons, but liked it a little better than one in the same area that she had shown me yesterday. As we were leaving, another housing agent showed up to give the tour to her clients - who, of course, took it.
I have sold real estate and I realize that I am a careful consumer who is functioning as a bogey man to scare others into committing. "You better act fast because that old guy who just left is going to take it!" So be it! Yes, I will be renting on the government's dime, but I have principles and I refuse to squander that dime on something that is over-priced or just plain crappy.
After wasting part of her afternoon, Marianne dropped me off at Gate 2, which is where the USO and Chili's, Too (a mini-Chili's) are located. I stood in line with my ID to get through the gate for too long, and decided to turn around and go back out into the community, on foot, and look for a car. BC Motors has a lot by Gate Two and another by Gate One. That agency comes highly recommended by several of my friends.
I roamed through the lot amusing myself by looking at cars in the light rain for about thirty minutes before a salesman finally approached. The young fellow, Oso, is a Nigerian native who is married to an Okinawan. He is also a proud new parent of a daughter. Oso showed me six or eight used Nissan Cube's, because that was the type of car that caught my eye. The Cube is small enough to worm its way through local traffic, but large enough inside for three guests and their luggage.
But the damned rain intensified, and I would not commit to buying a car in a rain storm. I am prone to make mistakes in fair weather, so no telling what I would have purchased running from vehicle to vehicle in a downpour! Before I left I also spotted a little red Cypher that caught my eye. It looked as though it could handle two-to-three passengers and minimal luggage. Oso was cool toward the Cypher because it has a small engine, but hell, the fastest anyone is allowed to drive on this island is 35 km/hour. "Yes," he agreed, "and the small engine would save on gas." I told Oso that I would come back tomorrow if the sun was shining (and the creeks didn't rise!).
All of the cars at BC Motors are used - but nice. They import them by the boatload from mainland Japan. I asked Oso if they would buy back the car that I bought in two years when I am ready to leave. He said, "Probably not." I respect honesty.
It is much easier (and cheaper) here to buy cars from Americans who are preparing to leave the island. There is even a large parking lot dedicated to selling their vehicles. It is aptly named "the Lemon Lot!" The problem with purchasing from individuals is that Japan has a rigorous inspection, the JCI, that all vehicles must pass every two years. (JCI repairs often run in excess of a thousand dollars!) Cars bought off of the Lemon Lot always have less than two years remaining on their JCI. If a car is purchased from a dealer, the dealer will provide the 2-year inspection as well as a one-year warranty. Dealers here also sell cars on credit - with no interest!
I went to BC Motors prepared to buy. I had several (but not an obscene amount of) hundred dollar bills in my wallet, as well as a credit card and a personal check. I ran into the office during one especially brutal downpour, and while I was there I noticed a big sign announcing that they did not accept hundred dollar bills, credit cards, or personal checks! Nothing like being prepare, I always say!