Things in Japan

Things in Japan

Sep 3, 2012

Value of a used car in Japan

Value of used cars in Japan

Those of you who live in Japan are most probably aware of how low the value of used cars are here. In fact there is a thriving business of used car export from Japan to other countries. Recently I have sold my old car since it's already due for it's Shaken (mandatory 2 yearly inspection for cars older than 3 years). 

The Shaken for my Subaru Pleo which is a Kei car (small cars with displacement of less than 660cc) for my area would have been around ¥50,000 for government related taxes and about ¥30,000 charged by the garage for maintenance stuff like changing brake pads, changing the rubber grease cover for the front wheel drive joint. This can cost much more depending on your car condition, the garage you go to etc. More details can be found here.

Since we have bought another car from a friend, we decided to sell the old Subaru. In Japan, the vast majority of used car sales are conducted by private individuals and specialist used car companies who then offload them to used car sales shops via an auction system. these auctions are where used car exporters get their stock from. Private sales between individuals are quite rare for convenience and privacy reasons.

Anyway, on to the Subaru Pleo, it's the greenish car on the left. It's 11 y.o. with a slight ding on the right side passenger door where a motor scooter hit it. 60,000 Km on the clock and in good running condition overall. Supercharged engine, CVT transmission & as a side note a nifty 7 speed semi-manual mode where you change gears from the steering wheel. Hey F1!

...and how much do you think the used car dealer offered? 

¥5,000 which is about US$60. I mean like WTF Japan! 
I actually called a few people asking if they know anyone who want to pay me same money or slightly better,  just so someone who needs a car can get it cheap instead of the dealers but everybody got cars already. I would have given it away to friends but again everybody I know do not need another car. At the end, managed to get ¥10,000 for it from another dealer. The market price for similar car in the used car market is around ¥250,000 ~ ¥480,000. This is just to give you an idea about selling used cars in Japan. Sometimes if your car is not of a popular make and model you even have to pay the disposal cost to these companies which is around ¥15,000.

Oct 3, 2011

Quick impressions of the Softbank 007SH Sharp Aquos smartphone

I got a new phone to replace my old Nokia N73 whose battery is slowly dying. Always wanted to get a new Android smartphone, but I am wary of getting a bar shaped phone for I don't want the screen to be scratched to bits with the multitude of metal things I stuff my pocket with on a daily basis. The clamshell design of the 007SH caught my attention.

Another point I liked is the high resolution camera it has. I have found that having a reliable good resolution camera always handy with you is great when you need to take pictures anywhere of kids, scenery or the odd UFO.

So to the phone now:

OS Android 2.3
OLED display
WiFi 802b/g/n
Bluetooth 3
Osaifu Keitai (Mobile Payment System)
One-Seg TV
Infra Red
Emergency Earthquake Alert
HDMI output
IPX5/IPX7 Waterproof/Dustproof
Connectivity to Home Network Server
Removable storage
microSD card (2GB included, max 32GB)
Internal storage

Weight 123 g (140 g with battery)
Size 51.8 x 113 x 18.8-1.3 mm (clamshell Size closed, without protruding parts)
Continuous Talk Time
230 minutes (3G)
230 minutes (GSM)
Continuous Standby Time 
300 hours
Continous TV time
5 hours
Charging Time
140 minutes 

Voltage 3.7V 
Battery Type Lithium-ion 
Capacity 820 mAh 
34.2 x 47.1 x 4.6 m

Normal flip open position
The screen can be flipped and turned 180 degrees (like Linda Blair's head in The Exorcist!)

The screen can only be flipped one way to the left

transformer toy?

Hey! I'm a smartphone now!

A 12 sec. video of the flip

In Japan many phones have the One-Seg TV tuner. Although the reception where I am is good enough for me not to have to pull the antenna out, I find the antenna is quite fiddly for my short nailed fingers to pull out. had to use the tip of a pen to do it.

Antenna down
Antenna up
TV mode On
My impression so far:


* Clamshell format, water & dust proofing helps protect it from the element. I had the phone quite wet from working outside on a rainy day installing a TV antenna while using a spirit level app for it and it was working fine. I haven't tried dipping it in water yet though.

* Screen visibility is good even under bright light. Picture quality of movie files from home server whilst on WiFi is quite good.

* It's not an iPhone :)

* Camera resolution is good. Highest quality setting sample below:

Click for full size image

* Battery life could be better. Playing nonstop Angry Birds I only managed a little over 3 hrs.
* Haven't found info on how to root it yet.
* External speaker sometimes not loud enough
* No user facing camera, there's only one camera (the main 16M pixel one)

Update 2011/10/1

Updating to Android 2.3.3 official Softbank update caused problems with WiFi dropouts and laggy screen. Haven't found way to revert yet. Guess have to wait for another update.

Update 2011/11/14
New software update fixed the earlier problems with wifi and sluggishness. phew!

Update 2012/06
WiFi broken! Just wont activate at all. Took it to Softbank, had a loan of the wonderful HTC Desire HD for a few days while the 007SH was being repaired. Came back okay with updated software which was a different version from the updates pushed to it by Softbank.

Final opinion of the 007SH. I like the idea of a hybrid flip/slab form, but my main gripe with it is the very small internal memory, battery life and sluggishness. Hope the newer 104SH with Android 4Sharp Aquos 104SH will be better. Am starting to like HTC & Samsung products better now.

Update 2013/01/03
WiFi broken again! Last time I'll ever get a Sharp phone. Next is HTC desire HD or Motorola RazrM!