Monday, February 19, 2007

RIP Dierdre

Well, I said I was planning on driving my little car into the ground.

Too bad I did it a little ahead of schedule.

This morning on the way to work, my Mitsubishi Minica died on me. As in, made horrible squealing noises and stopped running. I got it to the side of the road, and couldn't get it started again. So I called my supervisor (reason #8032802 why being a town JET rocks: any problems you run into can be handled by your supervisor) who came out with a BoE-mobile to give my car a boost. I was pretty sure the battery was fine. This sounded engine related to me.

After a while (during which time I realized my supervisor isn't so car savvy as I might have hoped) and a number of helpful suggestions from passerby, we called a mechanic. He came and took a look, and decided it must be the timing belt. That sounded expensive, but feasible. I went off to school and was too busy to give it much thought for the rest of the day. Until I finished my classes and remembered I would have to walk back to the office (not such a big trial -- my town is pretty small).

At my office, I found a note from my boss*.

"The engine of your car.
Crank shaft is broiling (sic).
Can't be repaired engine.
Can't be used engine.

1) second hand engine exchange
2) can be looked for a used car.

1), 2) Both a large amount of money.

What do you do?"

First, I muttered a lot of curses under my breath. Nobody in my office speaks English, but everyone knows all the most useful swears. Then I figured out how much longer I will be in Japan, and guesstimated what it would cost to buy a new car. Five months and not cheap.

My current thinking is that I will just suck it up and go without car for the rest of my stay here. I'm guessing I will already have to pay a large sum of money to get rid of the car, and buying a car that I will only use for 5 months just doesn't seem worth it. Especially when I'm not guaranteed to be able to sell it to whoever replaces me. It just doesn't seem worth the expense. However, I also enjoy the freedom that having a car affords me. Without a car, I won't be able to take off for the nearby onsen/ski hill/ foreign food store/ friend's house whenever I want. But people do it. I'm sure I can too. I just won't be very happy about it, that's all.

And it certainly will put a damper on the rest of the ski season.

Mutter, mutter, mutter.

* I get a lot of notes from my supervisor. He doesn't speak a lot of English, and he's embarrased to speak what English he has. So we spend a lot of time writing each other notes. It's been great for my Japanese, not so great for his English. Sorry about that, future successor! That being said, his notes are usually very entertaining. And at least he's writing them without resorting to a computer translation.

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