Japanese car rental markets in everything

People are renting cars, but then not driving them at all:

One respondent to the company’s survey said they rented vehicles to nap in or use for a workspace. Another person stored bags and other personal belongings in the rental car when nearby coin lockers were full.

In the aftermath of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami, rental cars were also used to recharge cellphones.

”I rented a car to eat a boxed meal that I bought at a convenience store because I couldn’t find anywhere else to have lunch,” said a 31-year-old male company employee who lives in Saitama Prefecture, close to Tokyo.

“Usually the only place I can take a nap while visiting my clients is a cybercafe in front of the station, but renting a car to sleep in is just a few hundred yen (several dollars), almost the same as staying in the cybercafe.”

Here is the full story by Andrew J. Hawkins, via Samir Varma and also Michael Rosenwald.


Well, I’d rather sleep in a car than here: https://www.japanican.com/en/hotel/detail/4016A42/?ty=rsv&pn=1&rn=1

I agree. It looks like a morgue (at least one a portrayed on television)

Link exchange is nothing else except it is only placing the other person's weblog link on your page at suitable place
and other person will also do similar for you.

When I visited Tokyo recently I was surprised that while there’s plenty of take away food available there is nothing like the shopping center food court where a common seating area is provided.

There are definitely food courts with seating in Tokyo. Its the konbinis that provide none of that, ironically, not living up to their convenience moniker.

Right. I've read that people in Japan do not eat on the go, e.g. grabbing a breakfast sandwich and eating it in a park or even while walking.

Which makes me wonder where they eat their grab-n-go food. Renting a car to eat in is one answer . Which suggests an inherent inconsistency in Japanese culture: convenience food that is inconvenient to eat.

One of the stranger things about this is that if you go to a supermarket, even just a little outside of the core Tokyo wards, many times they will have a seating area near the front of the store, complete with water fountains and utensils. So you can eat your supermarket sushi in the supermarket. It never made much sense to me.

Cyber cafe is a better deal since it comes with clean bathrooms.

He can't go to the park? They don't have benches in Japan?

You can only sleep on a park bench if you are an old man. I don't know if that's written down, but it seems to be the law. Also the weather in Japan is rarely suitable for outdoor napping.

It's pretty cheap to do it for a short period of time ($4 for 30 minutes). I could imagine just using a car for whatever on occasions at that price (although obviously that's much more expensive over longer rental periods).

I'm not sure what the $4/30 min is coming from. It's not on the Orix website.

Orix, Times, and Toyota all have a 6 hour minimums, and with various discounts you can get that as low as the equivalent of $25, at least at Times. I use 6 hour rentals to ferry my dogs to and from the pet hotel when I travel.

Rental agencies have to clean, maintain, check fluids, and check for scratches and dents after every rental. This wouldn't make sense for a $3.50 rental.

I smell yet another one of "those crazy Japanese" urban legends that the U.S. media is so fond of. I'm not saying that there is no kernel of truth here, but I'm sure there is a "rest of the story."

These people may be already part of a car share scheme which is why they are paying a small amount per hour of use.

All of the Lawson's (7-11 type convenience stores) have seating counters/areas for drinking/eating. At least this is the case in the city where I happen to be, 90 minutes by train from center of Tokyo. Lawson's being a franchise thing, I suspect all Lawson's have a similar set-up. Some other conveniences stores have them, some don't.

Lawson's is the most upmarket of all the Japan konbinis: prices are usually 10-20 yen higher than 7-11, Circle K, Family Mart, and they have some nicer items and are even cleaner than the usual konbini. Now that you mention it, they are the only bigname konbini that I can think of that I have regularly seen counters in, even if very limited in space.

Homo sapiens japonensis once again demonstrate their strange and curious behavior which sets them apart from other related hominids. Here they use a car rental not to drive but as a place to eat store-prepared food. A fascinating, outright specimen if I say so myself. Deeply fascinating.

I was wondering about parking costs. It seems people use the car at the parking designated place for pick-up/delivery.

If you're backpacking on a small budget or all hotels are full, spending the night on a car is not a bad idea.

I've personally rented cars to sleep in during the height of the summer tourist season in Anchorage, AK.

So when we get self-driving cars, not all of them will be cars. Rather, various services will be summonable for delivery.

Some "cars" will be office spaces, some of them will be sleeper wagons, maybe some of them will specialize as mini love hotels. Some might be mini-barbershops, complete with a robot arm that cuts your hair. Some will be mobile toilets. Some will be city-operated homeless shelters. And some will deliver both food and the seating for eating the food. The user might choose to be transported while these services are delivered, or not.

In any case, we'll still refer to all of these as "cars", in the same way that we refer to smartphones as "phones" even though actually making phone calls is only a minor option.

And yet on the other hand it would be more fuel-efficient to have lightweight drones delivering only the food, and in that case cafes might open whose only service is providing seating, tables, plates, cutlery and ambiance, with all of the food ordered in from various sources by customers via drone deliveries. Perhaps drinks would also be provided locally, since liquid is rather heavy and people often want refills.

Designers at IKEA were musing about spaces on wheels last year: offices, mini-hotels, etc =) https://space10.io/project/spaces-on-wheels-exploring-a-driverless-future/

Everyone should have a shepherd's hut.


When a hurricane hit my part of the low country several years ago, my car supplied my only power for days. With the heat and God-awful humidity, I would drive around (the streets were mostly empty because the area had been evacuated) with the air conditioner on and my cell phone recharging. Because the power was out for five days I had to conserve gasoline, however, as gas pumps won't work without power. Restaurants with staff who didn't evacuate served free food, priority going to the first responders (i.e., the power company employees) and then to residents, because without power the food would spoil anyway. I also rode around in my car for peace and quiet. What? The incessant hum of portable generators will drive one mad.

What does "markets in everything" mean?

It's Cowen's way of teaching fundamental principles of economics in a humorous way. Here is the popular definition: https://market.subwiki.org/wiki/Markets_in_everything

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