how to operate and maintain your nissan station wagon

I bought a car. It’s a Nissan. Born and raised in Japan, and imported to New Zealand in its maturity. This means its owner’s manual is written in Japanese. Thankfully the clever Japanese have filled it with delightfully intricate and explanatory illustrations to help foreigners (and illiterate Japanese, I suppose) to safely operate the vehicle. Thank you, Nissan!

The cover of the manual – bursting with joy and expectation. Life Together!

First of all, place all books in the engine compartment, please.

Always give the impression of being extremely pleased with your engine.

Never, EVER, cuss at your children in Japanese while they are hanging out of the car. (Look at the car, rolling its eyes. The car always knows best. Consult the car.)

Some of you may find this illustration more challenging. Let me point out the most important bit – if your engine begins to speak Japanese at you, something is seriously wrong. This situation is aggravated if you are travelling down a slope at a high rate of speed.

Again, please listen to your engine. (This may be difficult for native English speakers. If so, it is strongly suggested that they equip their engine compartment with a microphone and Japanese-English language translation module.)


If your brake pedal begins to speak Japanese at you, don’t be alarmed; but do pay attention!! In many cases, Hamburger Helper will help you avoid collision.

This one is completely self-explanatory. Come on now, did you really expect me to translate it for you?

In rare cases, your engine may be installed backwards, and the spirit of your car may beckon you toward visions of your long-lost key. If so, do not fear, and do not be ashamed of the perspiration that is bound to arise. These things happen, no need to be ashamed.

Little car, do not fear, your fever will break soon.

Now folks, I must admit that while I find all the rest of the illustrations to be brilliantly executed and highly descriptive, I really struggle with the next two. Not only are they violent and disturbing, but perhaps most sadly, the engine has ceased to speak Japanese to me. Help, anyone?

Again, more heedless violence.

Let us move on to kinder subjects. Did I mention that this car’s heating and ventilation system has the special feature of whispering comforting words in Japanese for the occupants?

Do be sure to provide affirmation to your car, assure it of its adequacy, and caress it often. Addressing it in multiple languages is most effective.

In snowy conditions, you may encounter heavy accumulations of Japanese text. If so, you are clearly driving the wrong car.

Those mysterious accumulations on your car hood? They will speak to you of strange and wonderful tales, if only you consult them.

In case of mechanical failure, there is a clear protocol. Park to the side of the road and away from traffic, turn on the emergency flashers, deploy a reflective warning triangle, and move yourself to safety by carefully climbing over the bridge railing.

Thank you, Nissan! Thanks to your excellent visual interpretation, I feel fully confident in operating my vehicle.

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