Home » Machine Translating Isn’t Always Great: Cold Start

Machine Translating Isn’t Always Great: Cold Start

Cs Fancloth

When was the last time you checked out Daihatsu Japan’s site? I like to do this every few weeks or so, just to check in and feel good, because I think Daihatsu consistently has one of the most charming and interesting lineup of cars in the modern carsyoucanbuyintheworldscape. I don’t speak Japanese, sadly, because I’m an absolute idiot when it comes to learning new languages, and if you don’t believe me, I can prove it with my D grade in college French, ne suis-je pas des gonades de belette? So, like many of us, I rely on my computer-machine to translate for me, but, as you can see up there, it’s not always so hot at it.

Fan Cloth? For Fun Cross? Really? The hell is fan cloth, anyway? The muslin or batskin or whatever they use to make folding fans? Or is it textiles for enthusiasts of things? Fan cloth. Pfft.

I can’t stay mad, because Daihatsu’s lineup is just too damn good. I mean, look at some of these cars they sell:

Cs Daihatsulineup


I like everything here! Sure, they’re all tiny Kei class cars, but look at the variety they manage to get in those restrictive size parameters! The rugged Taft, the sporty Copen, the spacious Thor, the retro Cast, the daringly clean Tocot! All unique looks and character, all interesting!

Plus, these are not expensive; look at the amazing Canbus, a car named seemingly for a modern car’s internal computer network but looks like the modernized VW Microbus Volkswagen should have been building and selling decades ago:

Cs Daihatsucanbusprice

It’s under $14,000! What else can you find on the market for that cheap with this much character and flexibility? In America right now, I think the cheapest car you can get is a Nissan Versa at $15,730, and it’s as uninspiring and boring as a ham sandwich, except there’s no ham, just a small bit of cardboard with “HAM” scrawled on it in Sharpie. There is a little bit of Miracle Whip on it, though. Except, upon tasting, you realize it’s actually Cool Whip. The old bait-and-whip! Dammit!

Anyway, Daihatsu, invite me to one of your car launches, because I’m into this shit.


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16 Responses

  1. I have a theory that the Daihatsu Canbus is itself a mistranslation of the word “Canvas”. Japanese doesn’t have any equivalent for the letter “V”, so when spelling foreign-language words with “v”-sounds in them, they replace it with one of the characters for the “b” sound. “Canvas” sounds appropriately lifestyle-y for a pastel colored kei car, and the closest translation to “canvas” in Japanese is “kyanbasu”. Daihatsu realized their mistake, got embarassed and made up some story about the name relating to the VW Bus…

    Also I rented one a few months ago and the windshield is like 5′ from the driver’s seat. I’m a lanky dude and I couldn’t even come close to touching it while driving. It feels like you’re driving a cave.

  2. Annoying nit-picker time:
    The Thor is not a kei car, it is a 1000cc compact, also sold as the Toyota Tank (!).
    For what it’s worth, in real life they look like they have been rear-ended by an SUV without scratching the paint.
    The Taft is let down by its very, very plasticky interior, but the Canbus is consistently appealing inside and out.

  3. One of my favorite recent Daihatsus is the Esse. They’ve been out of production for a bit now but you can still get nice running and driving ones for like $1000 all day in Japan, cheaper if you want one that’s a little bit rougher.

    Since they’re so cheap and plentiful, lots of people do all kinds of goofy mods to them. I’ve even seen someone make a Group B Peugeot 205 tribute out of one, widebody and roof mounted spoiler included.

  4. I think you’re underselling the 2023 Nissan Versa a little here. It’s glow-up in recent years is akin to Magikarp evolving into Gyarados. Looks great in person. Even if it isn’t retro and adorable.

  5. Daihatsu wants to “Light You Up”!

    Can’t really decide between a Boon, Tocot or Canbus. Or maybe a Taft, which I could christen “William Howard.”

  6. I really like the Tocot. It’s just about the epitome of shitbox: a very basic car-but it doesn’t look like you are punished for buying cheap. Even the interior pics I found look decent. We need more of this!

    Somewhat related: working n a new project last week, I noticed that someone here is still daily-ing a first gen Festiva. Rather startled him with an enthusiastic grin & thumbs-up. Gotta admire his dedication.

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