In Japan, there are two kinds of cars, normal-sized ones and the super-small kei cars, defined as vehicles with engines that are 660 cc in size or smaller, which always feature a yellow license plate so you can tell them apart. Although they aren’t as powerful, these cars get better gas mileage and also enjoy various tax savings from the government. While one doesn’t usually expect these smaller, more economical cars to also be kakko ii (cool, good style), more and more I’m seeing manufacturers add interesting features and tweak their designs so they appeal to hip young people, with boxy, wagon-style lines and sporty interiors. I’ve even seen some adventurous Japanese converting kei-style vans into a serviceable “camping car” (RV) for their family, which sounds like a lot of fun. Still, no matter how long I live in Japan, I can’t get used to the sight of these tiny kei vehicles being used for police cars, which are called mini-pato, for miniature patrol cars. They look so much like children’s toys, I have to have a giggle every time I see one driving around.
I am always amused when I see a mini-pato, or miniature police car.