Reader M.T. has lived in Japan for over 20 years and his brother is planning a visit, with a twist: The brother, his wife and two children are hoping to travel around the country living out of their Volkswagen camper van.

"My brother, who is interested in pottery, has never visited Japan and does not speak Japanese. He wants to travel the country to visit various ceramic sites and to bring his VW camping vehicle from the United States and stay each night in parking lots and other places. I am worried. What do you think?"

First, bringing a car into Japan is a very complicated, expensive and time-consuming process. The vehicle has to pass an inspection known as shaken, which for a regular Japanese car can cost up to ¥100,000 plus repair charges.