Greetings from Japan!.... I mean Texas!
Greetings from Japan!.... I mean Texas!

Hello : ). Welcome to my blog! I am going to post my fun adventure on importing my first car from Japan! I hope you enjoy the ride, and always feel free to ask any questions! I am as confused (if not more confused) than you, so maybe we can learn something together and have fun while doing so.

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Why Japan? Good thing you ask, that is the point of this first blog!

Background

Before we dive into why I need (note: I don’t really need - we don’t really need anything besides food and water) to import a car, let me explain my current situation.

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I currently drive a 2014 C7 Corvette Stingray. Yes - it is manual. Yes - the only options on it are the Competition Seats and the Performance Exhaust. I love modifying my cars as well, so it has headers and other fun things. I could make an entire blog dedicated to my love for my Corvette which I have dubbed “Sonic”, after one my favorite character growing up, Sonic the Hedgehog. The name sticks too since I think it’s fast. I’ve had it for over two years now, and it’s a joy to drive every single day!

Sonic says hello, but he is American. He is the true American hero
Sonic says hello, but he is American. He is the true American hero
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Owning Sonic Can Be Scary

My car suits my needs for 99.99999% of the time, and is in fact my daily driver. It is one of the best daily drivers ever. With the V4 cylinder mode on the highway, I am constantly getting 30+ MPG. When I stomp it, the exhaust pops and scares people around me (and scares me too sometimes). It makes my drive home from work fun and rewarding 8o ).

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One negative (which can actually be a positive when you don’t want to drive around other people) is that it only seats two people. The trunk, while big in “sports car standards”, doesn’t have height to it which can sometimes be an issue. These two issues are minimal for a single lad like me.

While my car is stock height, the combo of the carbon fiber front splitter along with its wide hips (wider than Kim K) makes driving it around town a scary situation. I one time got stuck going through a McDonalds drive through, because the turn was so sharp and narrow, I saw no way of getting out. I ended up scraping my front splitter and still have nightmares about the traumatic event :(.

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The main issue though is other drivers, especially those that don’t think driving is important and would rather play Pokemon GO or do their nails while attempting to drive. They scare me, and a quick trip to the grocery store is more acting like a ninja and dodging flying grocery karts. In addition, when it seldom snows/ice, or there is a torrential rain, Sonic would rather be indoors.

Sonic is fast — too fast sometimes. With first gear hitting 60 MPH and second going to infinity, you can only accelerate for a few seconds before getting sent to jail. My first car was a Volkswagen Rabbit (aka Golf), and that thing was a blast to just hoo around without fear of dying.

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Sometimes, I just need something I can drive without worry.......

Illustration for article titled Japanese Import Part I - Why???
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Japan Rules

My current car is American, and my previous car was European (BMW 1 Series). I thought this time around I should go Japanese. While I won’t be revealing yet what I bought (you can easily find out if you look online), the following are great reasons to import a car from Japan

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Japanese Culture is Clean

Have you been to Japan? I went last year, and it is super clean. So clean I had to throw something away and couldn’t find a trash can to throw it away in. When the toilet cleans your booty and there are hand dryers, there’s no need for wasting paper or having trash cans. Here’s a picture of when we stepped out of our hotel room. It’s clean, and I suggest you visit!

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Japan is very beautiful
Japan is very beautiful

As a result of their clean culture (and some of their driving laws/rules), finding a low mileage car with a good maintenance history and in a very clean state is not that hard to come by. The car I am importing is over 25 years old, and I wouldn’t believe it based on the condition of it. Finally, there is a reason why “boring” people drive cars like the Toyota Camry or Honda Civic - they are super reliable and parts are cheap.

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Illustration for article titled Japanese Import Part I - Why???

Here’s a picture of a Porsche we saw in Tokyo on our first day, not too far from our hotel. It looked brand new, and was just begging us to drive it (but we didn’t because we would go to jail and the owner would probably be very unhappy).

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Japanese Uniqueness and Euro Love

The Japanese have a lot of cool cars that aren’t available in the states. They have “Kei” cars, which I will let our good friend Jeremy Clarkson explain about:

Besides “Kei” cars, your typical cool Japanese cars exist such as the Nissan GTR (Skyline), Toyota AE-86, and Honda Integra Type R. The list goes on.

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1990 Mercedes 190E 2.5-16 Evolution II from Japancardirect.com
1990 Mercedes 190E 2.5-16 Evolution II from Japancardirect.com

The Japanese also love their European cars. The Mini ERA Turbo, Renault R5 Turbo 2, BMW Alpina - all the rare models from Europe - can be found in Japan in fantastic shape.

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Exchange Rate and Import Rule

The exchange rate from US to JPY is pretty darn good (1 USD = 100 Yen). A few months ago, it was even better (1 USD = 125 Yen). When you compare the USD to the British Pound, or the Euro, and you look at the condition of the Japanese cars, its almost a no brainer. There are costs included with importing a car, but I will explain that in more detail in other blogs.

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In the United States, if the car is over 25 years old, you can import it without much difficulty (unless you live in California - which I luckily don’t). I will go through the import process in my next blog, but for the meantime, you can read more about it here.

It’s the latest craze

Does the name Doug Demuro ring a bell? Have you checked bringatrailer.com recently? Due to the reason’s listed above (and Brexit), now is a great reason to buy and import a car from Japan.

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The reality is, however, there is the added extra excitement from doing something different from the norm. Not many people I know of import vehicles, and the experience that we will share together (both good and bad), will be an adventure!

The bank kept confirming with me that “I was sending money to buy a car I had never seen or driven from a different country”, and the look on their faces was quite funny. I’m not sure how long I will keep the car, and while I hope to make money or break even on it eventually, the experience will be well worth the cost.

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In summary, I want something cheap, fun, and reliable. They always say “pick two of three”, but we are hopefully going to get all three and then some more! I already chose the car, and it is about to be on a boat ride for the next month or so. In the meantime, I will be blogging about the events that led up to the purchase.

There are many US based companies that sell cars from Japan, and they probably work well. However, I am a cheap bastard and want the best deal as possible and I am super picky about my options. Therefore, I decided to go straight to the source.

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I am purchasing my car from JapanCarDirect.com, and they have been AMAZING people to work with. My next blog post will go in detail why I decided to work with them (this post and all following posts are NOT sponsored by them). I considered many other services before going with them, but their customer service and professionalism left me very impressed. They have a lot of content on their website, so in the meantime, I suggest you give them a visit, and feel free to ask questions, and I will reply in the comments or answer them in the next post.

Thanks!!! You can also feel free to follow me on IG @Greenkirby21

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