If you’ve ever been to Tokyo, chances are you’ve probably seen a fleet of go-karts on the roads, with drivers dressed up in onesies to look like characters from Nintendo’s popular Mario Kart series of racing video games. Run by a go-kart company called MariCar, the driving experience is a hit with foreign tourists, and a sore point for Nintendo, who is currently seeking 10 million yen in compensation from the company for possible copyright infringement.
For locals in Japan, opinions are divided over foreign tourists driving the modified vehicles around an unfamiliar city, especially after an increase in accidents which included a MariCar driver hitting a parked car and another foreign visitor driving onto a sidewalk and running into the wall of a police box, which prompted the transport ministry to look into strengthening safety measures for the vehicles. Currently, drivers are under no obligation to use seat belts or wear helmets while driving the go-karts on the roads.
With every new incident comes renewed debate into the topic of the safety of the MariCar service, and on April 30 it was reported that another foreign tourist had got themselves into trouble yet again, this time mounting the sidewalk and crashing beside a storefront in Tokyo’s busy Roppongi district.
Twitter users were quick to capture the scene on camera, with police from the local Azabu police station arriving to assess the damage and make a report on the incident.
The picture shows that the driver ran into the Malin’s British fish and chips shop, which is less than 200 meters away from the famous Roppongi Crossing intersection, and directly opposite the busy Tokyo Midtown shopping and restaurant complex.
According to Azabu police, the incident, which occurred at approximately 7:30 p.m., involved a driver in her 30s from Singapore, who had arrived in Japan the previous day. The driver, who was in the second kart of a five-vehicle fleet, mounted the sidewalk and crashed into a signboard, damaging the sign before crashing into a wall next to the shop window. The driver was transported to the hospital for minor injuries, and there were no injuries to passersby.
The incident could have been a lot more serious, and Twitter users were quick to add their opinions to the conversation online.
“Even though they’re not run by Nintendo, this is damaging Nintendo’s image.”
“They have to tighten regulations for these vehicles.”
“It’s only a matter of time before something more serious happens.”
“If they did this sort of thing on busy roads overseas they’d probably be run over by other cars.”
“People who drive these karts have to think about others as well as themselves.”
Despite all the negative publicity the company is generating among locals in Japan, the company remains high-up on the must-do list for foreign visitors to the country. Hopefully MariCar will be able to increase safety measures for drivers, so that more foreign tourists can enjoy the thrill of stepping into a Mario Kart game in real life.
Source: Sankei via My Game News Flash
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