How to park your car in Japan
Have you ever wondered how Japan fits their roughly 78 million vehicles into a habitable area roughly the size of Maine? Well, it takes just the right mix of creativity and precision (it also helps that most of the cars are really tiny). In this post I introduce a few of the methods Japanese people have come up with for getting the most out of their limited parking space.
Private parking waza*
*: means “technique”
C3PO, shut down all trash compactors on the detention level!!
I have to admire the driver for being able to maneuver the car into that space. I presume they exit through the rear door.
I can not see you. Ergo, you can not see me.
頭隠して尻隠さず [atama kakushite shiri kakusazu] is a Japanese proverb literally meaning “to hide your head but not your butt”, and seems to fit perfectly with this picture.
(Note: the proverb actually refers to not completely concealing your mistakes/wrongdoings)
Its the feeling that counts.
The added work of having to lift the shutter in order to steal this car is of questionable deterrence value, but this owner seems satisfied. Doesn’t look like a car worth stealing anyway, to be honest.
If you can’t move out, move UP!
For those Japanese who have two cars but only space for one, apparently you can buy a private use car elevator. Also handy for cleaning 2nd floor windows, though you’d better double check their earthquake/typhoon durability rating.
Public parking waza
Actually, the notion of stacking cars is well developed in Japan. In fact, they have whole buildings that are basically giant car stacking machines. Pretty cool, actually.
You may question whether or not a タワーパーキング [tower parking] like the one in this video is actually economically viable, even in Japan. Well, here’s my answer:
If there’s sufficient demand for parking space in Japan that a two-car-capacity commercial parking (with one space being out of order?) lot can pay the bills, then so can a parking tower. I’m still looking for a single-car pay parking lot, by the way. If anyone knows one, please send me a tip!
The other popular method for communal/commercial parking is what I call “the honeycomb.”
While mathematically speaking this a very effective way of parking, getting out can become problematic.
Sorry, but making your car harder to see does reduce the mount of space it takes up. Try again.
It’s important to note that not all areas of Japan have parking issues, as you can see the above picture, taken in rural Japan (Shirakawago).
Ummm, are you SURE that I can U-turn in there?