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In October last year, Yokohama City joined forces with Japanese automobile manufacturer Nissan for a special project dubbed Choi-Mobi Yokohama. Furnishing the historic port city with a small fleet of rentable, ultra-compact electric vehicles, Nissan set out to examine the feasibility of making such modes of transport commonplace in urban centres. Allowing anyone with a valid license to zip around the city – emission free, of course – for just 20 yen (US$0.19) per minute of use, ultra-compacts like the Choi-Mobi are tipped to be a useful replacement for taxis and private vehicles in urban areas in future years.

The concept alone was enough to have tech-heads and environmentalists alike grinning from ear to ear, but on April 1 this year, Nissan asked a group of Choi-Mobi renters to use their time together inside the vehicle to convey important messages to one another, telling not April Fools but “April Truths”.

Nissan’s tiny cars are about the size of an chunky ATV/quad-bike, but can seat two people and, thanks to their fibre-glass roofs and semi-open reinforced surrounds, offer far more comfort and safety. They’re all-electric, and designed to be rented by both urbanites and tourists, allowing them to move around the city and drop the cars off at any of the dedicated parking areas, meaning that unlike a regular rental car, there’s no need to return it to the place it was picked up, make reservations, or plan ahead.

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On April 1, though, Nissan installed cameras inside a number of the special vehicles and invited people to take a ride, using their time together to say the things that they were never able or couldn’t find the time to say before.

Here are some of the confessions that took place during the day.

There were proposals,

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expressions of brotherly love,

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a friend who decided to say “thank you” through song,

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another proposal! (though since he’s already wearing a ring it can’t have been that much of a surprise…),

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displays of gratitude from husbands,

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and this young man’s genuinely touching display of filial piety as he thanks his mother for everything she has done for him.

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There are more “April Truths” to be enjoyed in the video below. It’s entirely in Japanese, but really, when it comes to human emotion, the language they’re speaking doesn’t really matter. Enjoy!

Perhaps there’s something about being in a private bubble with someone special, yet not having to look them directly in the eye, that helps people convey their feelings better? Either way we think this was a pretty cool promotion on Nissan’s part. And, lest we forget that this is a promotional video for an eco-friendly, ultra-compact vehicle, did anyone else notice just how fast those little things can move!? To hell with taxis, we’ll take a fleet of those in our city, too, please!

Reference: Choi-Mobi YouTube
Images: YouTube