We are born for change and growth. Transformation. It’s hard to accept that everything is temporary. But when we do, the goodness of the moment floods in and life’s beauty snaps into focus—the beginnings, endings, and the journeys that still await. Happy and sad, we treasure it all. It’s in this spirit, that we begin the process of saying a bittersweet farewell to Dave, our beloved Westfalia camper of six years. And at the same time, we welcome a new family member: Jiro!
Jiro is a mini expedition vehicle fresh from Japan—a 1993 Mitsubishi Delica JB500 with all of our dream specifications—4x4 off-road capability, low mileage (55K), full camper (bed, dinette, couch, kitchen, bathroom), diesel with great gas mileage (20-25 mpg), bike rack, roof rack, solar power, and a footprint smaller than a BMW SUV.
While he’s taller than Dave (9’), he is slim and compact at 6’4” wide and 16’ long, and fits easily into a regular parking space. He is not built for speed, but torque, and excels at exploring fire roads, climbing mountains, and taking the slow, less-traveled route. In short: a perfect traveling home for our overland adventures.
As with Dave, we have plans to pour a great deal of love into Jiro. We look forward to putting our DIY stamp on him—upgrading his camping equipment and interiors, and optimizing his generous storage space. The photos show him as he was last Sunday, when we first laid eyes on him, and this past Saturday, when we finalized his paperwork, and picked him up from Portland with his new BFG KO2 All-Season tires freshly installed.
The name, Jiro (pronounced, GEE-roh), means “second son” in Japanese, and is an homage to both celebrated sushi master, Jiro Ono and our “first son”, Dave the Westy.
Not a lot of these vehicles have made it stateside yet (they’ve only been legally allowed in the US since 2018). We’ve found a whopping total of six others (two were in Canada). Not having the widespread Westy community to rely on for vehicle advice will be a challenge. But we look forward to learning as we go—adjusting to right-hand drive, deciphering Jiro’s manuals (all in Japanese), and learning his likes and dislikes. We don’t expect the journey to be easy. The best things never are. It will, however, be a lot of fun.