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August: The Return of Souls

August is peak summer season in Japan.  We can look forward to some of the most spectacular fireworks displays and festivals in the world, ...

Ergonomics of Jukujo !

In America, Cadillac is a brand of luxury car produced and mostly sold in the U.S. and Canada. In the U.S., the name became synonymous for “ high quality” and the standard of excellence, used in such phrases as “ the Cadillac of watches,” referring to a Rolex, but for me it was “ the Cadillac of all women,” referring to the Jukujo or a ripe Japanese woman in her late 40s.

On earth there are few substitutes for a Cadillac; some are made in England, others are a made in Germany.  I have seen some with a nice front end, others with a not so nice one, until one day when I was at work I met a fairly beautiful one in mint condition.   She had a nice paint job, no nicks or burrs, fair skinned with beautiful rims! The only thing was that she wasn’t a Cadillac, but a Prince Gloria S40-E Series 1961~1966.  I’ve never driven this type of car before. What I came to learn, though, was that this car was in a class all its own being that it was one of Japan’s best known cars, one that was even loved and adored by the late Emperor Showa himself.

Getting in her  I immediately felt secured, even before I put my seat belt on. The vinyl interior was soft and inviting – not cold and rancid. I remember the interior smelling a bit like... lavender and tea leaves, the dashboard had not one speck of dust, the steering wheel was big which made it easy to grip with both hands – I always enjoyed grabbing on the steering wheel and rubbing my hands across her smooth surface and then moving the steering wheel from left to right like a fanciful child - there was plenty of play in the steering wheel, not stiff like a sport's cars. On the road she was a dream. At every turn she would cradle me in her arms and down the straight away she would virtually glide and bounce along in her outdated suspension system, like a squeaky bed in the night.  She would sing Jack Frost’s “chestnuts on an open fire,” from her sweet speakers. Her voice was in alto; pear shaped tones; soft and alluring. She was so magical we even drove to the summit of Mount Fujii in the middle of winter at night. We sat there, atop Mt. Fujii, with the warmth of her love protecting me from the bitter coldness of winter’s icy breath while overlooking Akihito’s vast and beautiful kingdom.

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