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A legacy of love

The Great Kanto Highway is how the world looks without the NRA or county councils to mess things up.

It runs from Tokyo to Northern Japan and was turned into a tarmacadam Grand Canyon by the March 11 Japanese earthquake.

But six days later something miraculous happened – it was all fixed up and reopened, despite the threat of atomic Armageddon and the ongoing fear of further earthquakes and tsunami.

Technical

Can you imagine such a directive in this country – anytime a road breaks it needs to be fixed … how’s that for crazy?

I know for a fact that there is not a single pothole in Ireland that hasn’t been filled in quicker than the Great Kanto Highway has been rebuilt.

It takes six days here for the smallest pothole to be registered, highlighted with bright paint and then assessed by a team of trusty councillors.

Then a highly technical assessment is carried out by a team of luminous jacket-wearing roadies and then the chaps with the shovels and hot tar arrive, just in time for tea.

Any visitor to Dublin docklands recently, can marvel at the multi billion euro vista of conference centres and glass boxes, and then drop their gaze 45 degrees to watch what resembles a post tsunami paddy field with more divots and troughs than a ploughed field.

The NRA is so up to speed these days that a cursory glance at its website shows that its last big announcement came in January – more than two months ago.

That basically means that Ireland’s road system has been running without any problems since the NRA told us all abouta temporary closure to the N11.

You can almost bet that if the NRA was based in Tokyo it wouldn’t have even got around to putting up the bollards on the Kanto Highway.

Rebuilding roads is not the Japs’ only talent, as we all know – the cars ain’t that bad either. Just ask any Honda, Toyota or Subaru owner.

And it’s the all-new Subaru Legacy that has me in a spin this week.

The delicious 2.0 litre Boxer beauty comes in a turbo diesel saloon, tourer and TD sports tourer.

My personal favourite is the sports tourer, a car that has everything – stunningly aggressive good looks, top end comfort, styling and oceans of space for everything … including the kitchen sink.

The drive itself was a peach – as you would expect from any Subaru. Take off, acceleration and performance is terrific, and road handling and driveability nothing short of exhilarating.

Cool

The thing about Subaru is that they keep getting better and the sports tourer is another sizeable chapter in the success story of keeping a street credible brand cool, while allowing it to become a high end luxury carriage in the process.

The Subaru Legacy will cost you from €34,995 to €41,995.