Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Difference in Transportation #5

[Car -Part 4]

This time, I would like to focus on the difference of car itself, not transportation system.

Japanglish and the names of  car parts

We have Japanglish, it means English-like words which is understandable only for Japanese actually. The word itself exist in English so we don't create new words, but the way of use is wrong. Basically, we use Katakana (One of three characters of Japanese) to represent imported words to distinguish from Japanese oriented words. Katakana is also used for Japanglish. Sometimes, it suffers us a lot as studying English, because it is hard for us to recognize if it is used in real English or not.

Speaking of the names of car parts, there are a bunch of Japanglish. I think it is because Japanese car makers tried to make them easier to remember for consumers, some are originally from not American English, or simply the person who named them was not familiar with American English. Even if they are from English, the pronunciations are quite different.

Anyway, I would like to introduce some of them.

[American English]   =   [Japanglish (Pronunciation)]
License plate = Number plate (Namba-ple-to)
Steering wheel = Handle (Hamdolu)
Horn = Klaxon (Kulakushon)
Turn signal, Flasher... = Winker (Uinka-)
Accelerator, Gas pedal = Accel (Akuselu)
Hood = Bonnet (Bomnetto)
Hubcap = Wheel (Hoi-lu)
Rear-view mirror = Back mirror (Bakku mila-)
Parking light = Small lamp (Sumo-lu lampu)
Windshield = Front glass (Flonto Galasu)

Import car in Japan

As I mentioned my former post, cars in Japan drive the left side. Therefore, the driver seat is opposite or the right side of the car. In case of an import car, we usually change the position of driver's seat to the right side so that it can be easy to adapt to left-hand traffic. Of course, wheel has been changed the placement as well, but still turn signal is the left side and wiper is the right side of wheel. Actually, turn signal bar and wiper indicator of cars for left-hand traffic is opposite. So, if you usually drive Japanese car in Japan and are not accustomed to an import car, or drive in the U.S. for the first time, you tend to move the wiper when you make turn on a corner. In addition to it, you may turn on the opposite signal easily, because when you drive Japanese car in Japan and want to turn on the right signal, you should push down the winker lever with right hand and vice versa. Among Japanese, doing these are kind of ashamed, because people think the person is not rich enough to have experience to drive import cars (Japanese usually consider import cars are the proof of rich person) Japanese drivers try to get used to it as soon as possible. I think it's silly but interesting episode. Learn more how to drive on the left side of the road.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Difference in Transportation #4

[Car -Part 3]

The road structure is a little bit different. I will pick up what I was aware as a driver, and a pedestrian.

The limit lines..

When I walk on the street, I felt the cars run faster compare to Japan. Japanese road is narrow and cars drive slowly, so pedestrians are easy to cross the street. But as I tried to cross the road with no crossing, even if I checked there seemed to be no car on the street, soon a car headed to me unexpectedly. Therefore,  I usually use the crossing. Then I realized the car was so close as I walk in the crossing line. Why did I feel scared? The crossing line was the same as the limit line. In addition to it, the car try to turn right didn't stop at the stop line exactly. In Japan, There is plenty space between crossing and stop line. Since then, I try to stop my car with enough space toward the crossing. But I think due to the road structure causes the fact that the U.S. traffic police have to establish strict controls over the limit line. Learn more

 Street parking

I'm not good at parking, especially street parking. When I was in Tokyo, I didn't have so much opportunity to park on the street, because the road is super narrow.

If some cars are parked on the road, the street changes 2 lanes to 1 lane, 1 lane to no lane. That situation definitely causes a traffic jam.

As I drive in the U.S., sometimes I am required park along the street. I wish the driving school instructor taught me how to park on the street..

Rest area on highway

I think there is no rest area on highway in San Diego area. As I drive in California, I saw only one.

It is hard to believe in Japan, because rest area is sometimes like a theme park or a shopping mall. We call service area and you can see a lot of "SA" sign on highway. As we focus on how attractive the rest area is, and some of them are used for revitalizing the town such as hot spring in a rest area!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Sky blue + Palm tree

This time, putting aside "Difference in Transportation", I would like to introduce this clear blue sky and palm trees which can be the symbol of San Deigo.

Blue and green color makes us confortable and calm. There is some description regarding the psychological effects of cool color such as green and blue. learn more

Do you think the color of the sky is different from each place? I think this is true. I have never seen such a blue sky before coming to San Diego...

But at the same time, I feel the sky is connected to all over the world. I made a lot of international friends here and most of them have already been back to their countries. When I miss them, I always think the sky is worldwide, so we can see the same sky wherever we are. Also, they will not forget about the combination of clear blue sky and palm trees, or if they see the beautiful sky blue, though it's not like San Diego, it reminds them of the precious time in San Diego.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Difference in Transportation #3

[Car -Part 2]

This time, I will focus on a freeway situation. Driving American freeway for the first time was one of the most adventurous experience for me.

How wide it is!

Since I was born, I had only known the narrow and swirling highway like a car action game. Though I was vaguely conscious of the width of American freeway by watching the Hollywood action movies or TV show, the vast and straight road was astonishing to me.

Obviously, 2-lane accustomed driver didn't know how to drive on 5 lanes (in San Diego, sometimes 2 lane, mostly 4 or 5 lanes. on the other hand, in LA, sometimes 8 lanes.) highway. I only tried to use the far right lane so that I could take an exit at anytime. However, taking the far right lane is kind of risky, because most of it changes to an exit lane. I often kicked out of the freeway due to it. I recommend taking the second right for beginners.

Traffic light at the entrance?

Actually, surprising experience starts at the entrance. There is a traffic light called ramp meter. Furthermore, it changes so quickly green to red. Is it broken..? No, it adjusted not to allow too many cars to enter at one time. How good system it is to prevent from traffic jam on a freeway.

No gate

There is no gate at the entrance. In Japan, No gate means you should have an equipment to pay the fee called ETC. But "Freeway" is for free. Freeway's "free" does not seem to mean "no fee" though.

What is  means?

by Y Black
This is carpool lane sign.
Carpool lane allows us to take it in case only the passengers are two or more. It is also good idea for alleviating traffic congestion.

We need to know it before taking freeway if you drive without American driver's licence.


The number of parked cars on a freeway

I often see parked cars on a freeway. If you park a car on a highway in Japan, you will get fined or get a ticket. (Actually, in this situation, we say "punch a ticket" in Japanese.) This may be because drivers are required to get an automobile safety inspection thoroughly and more regularly. Sometimes it costs 100 times compare to the U.S. Having car is kind of luxury in my country.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Difference in Transportation #2

[Car -Part 1]

The car situation is quite different from my country. Focusing on the traffic rules on local roads this time, I will introduce "surprises"

Keep right? Keep left?

As driving a car, people in the UK, Australia, and Japan drive on the left side of a road. In most country people keep right.

When I drive a car in San Diego for the first time, it was really hard to accustomed to it, since everything was opposite like mirrored.

Especially, making left turn needs to be done with the most careful attention. Sometimes we think taking left is turning in a small radius unconsciously, it means wandering into oncoming traffic!

Allowed to turn on red.

One of the most significant differences in that we can make turn right on red signal. I had never turned on red before coming to the U.S., so it was difficult to recognise the appropriate situation to turn on red.

First of all, stop at least 2 seconds. Then watch out for pedestrians from the both sides, cars from the left side, from the front, and cars making u-turn.

At first, I didn't understand why we have to make turn right on red with so much attention and risk. But now I realized the merit of it. It prevent a bad traffic a lot. As evidence of this, if one car stop on red signal at the corner of the right rane, the rane is going to be full soon, and many cars stick on the right side. It definitely causes traffic jam.

Turning on the hazard light means..

Any region has its local rule with using the function of a car, I believe. If you turn on your hazard lamp, what will it indicate?

"Hazard" is letting others know the danger, of course. When cars move smoothly and then stuck suddenly because of a traffic jam, we use the hazard light to let the other cars behind about the situation. Or, a truck driving up a slope slowly turn on the hazard. But in my country, the truck case is not common way to use. So, when I saw that kind of hazard, I thought I would be stuck in a traffic jam soon and pushed the brake pedal.

In addition to it, in Tokyo, if someone give way and she/he is behind in the results, turning on the hazards briefly and expressing thanks. I realized nobody used the hazard light for the purpose of it.

It is interesting and worthwhile enough to know the local rule so that we can avoid the cause of an accident.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Difference in Transportation #1


(c) 2012 MTS
San Diego has the bus network called MTS. Some universities have their own shuttles. The first transportation that I took after arriving San Diego was bus. I remember there was just a succession of surprises from it.

Time table is rough.

There is a time table for main bus stops, but not every single one of the bus stop. I like this style, because we don't have to care about the time on a minute by minute basis.

Simple and clean!

In Japan, there is a bunch of advertisements on a train, bus, station.. everywhere. When you get in the bus or train, you can see the many ads hunging from the ceiling, put on the window, placed on the straps. It definitely spoils the view. Sometimes MTS or a shuttle has one, but not too much, so it's not big deal. Besides, it's much neater and cleaner in the bus than I expected before.

Some seats are high for me..

I'm not so short in height, but my feet could hardly touch the floor on a backseat of the bus..! I got a culture shock then.


We can take our bicycle on MTS. In my country, we can't, or if we can, we should pay extra fee for the bicycle. Though I have never tried that before, it seems very easy to load the bicycle on front of the bus.

How to get off the bus?

There are yellow cords above the window. As the bus is reaching the bus stop, we pull it and let the driver know to stop the bus. It was so surprising to me and when I saw the passenger pulling the code, I thought he was playing with the code! In Japan, the bus has the button with English description. When the bus is close to the bus stop, the button gets red light. Every transportation has English sign, so people who speaks English may have less confusion in terms of travelling.

Anyway, MTS website explain "How to" kindly. http://www.sdmts.com/how_to_ride.asp