© Patricia Cardet

Japanese impressions

✦ Small and smart: Kei cars

Kei car, K-car, or kei jidōsha (軽自動車, lit. "light automobile") (pronounced [keːdʑidoːɕa]), is a Japanese category of small vehicles, including passenger cars (kei cars or kei-class cars), microvans, and pickup trucks (kei trucks or kei-class trucks). They are designed to comply with Japanese government tax and insurance regulations, and in most rural areas are exempted from the requirement to certify that adequate parking is available for the vehicle. This especially advantaged class of cars was developed to popularize motorization in the postwar era. While successful in Japan, the genre is generally too specialized and too small to be profitable in export markets. (Wikipedia)

✦ Manhōru

Street art at its best. Beautiful, imaginative and useful. Manhōru (derived from the Englsh word manhole) covers have become coveted objects for photographers in Japan. "Credit for the proliferation of patterns goes to a man named Yasutake Kameda, who was then a ranking bureaucrat in the construction ministry. At the time, only about 60 percent of Japanese households were hooked up to municipal sewer systems. To raise acceptance of these costly public works, mostly underground and largely underappreciated, Kameda thought the one part that is visible — the manhole covers on the surface — ought to be more attractive. In particular, he encouraged cities, towns and villages around Japan to develop designs with local appeal." (read more under https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2008/12/16/reference/manhole-covers/#.W-ll4S3pOgQ) Have a look at: https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-asia-42685022/japan-s-elaborate-manhole-covers.