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Jul 9, 2018

Your chariot awaits

Is there any element of your daily life in Japan that is totally different to how you live your life in your home country? For me there are a few, some negative, some positive. My favorite on the upside is cycling. I never cycle in Dublin, its too dangerous. Here in Japan, I cycle here, there and everywhere. My beast of burden is a mamachari.  


Your chariot awaits photo


The word mamachari is among my favourite portmanteau in the Japanese language. There is a bit of debate on the etymology of this contracted term. Mama is undisputed as coming from Mother. The chari on the other hand has two popular interpretations. The first, the one I personally think it derived from, is charinko. Charinko is the slang term for a bicycle, said to come from the sound of a bell "charin" and child "ko". The second one, my explanation of choice even if it isn't right, is the chari is an abbreviation of chariot. 


Your chariot awaits photo


As I wrote in my rubbish post (rubbish as a noun not an adjective!), I have become more ecologically aware in recent years. One of the incentives to cycle daily is to do my bit to reduce omissions. At least once a day I take my chariot out for a spin. My mamachari is the type that you can carry two children on - there is one seat built into the bike (that can double as a basket) on the front and a removable seat on the back. Monday to Friday when the weather permits I bring my two younger to children to preschool, a three kilometer round trip, by mamachari. I use it to pop to the shops or the bookstore or anywhere within a couple of kilometers of the house. I even cycle to the tourist district of Kawagoe 7 kilometers (one way) once a week and occasionally to Kawagoe station about 10 kilometers away. 

Do you have a bike in Japan? A mamachari? For those not yet in Japan, but planning to come soon... your chariot awaits!


Saitama

Saitama

Level 8 LocalGuide with Google. Blogging about life in Japan as an Irish WAHM to 4 kids on insaitama.com.


2 Comments

  • genkidesu

    on Jul 9

    I have a mamachari from even before I had my kids here! Hubby and I were living in Tokyo and were car-less at the time, so we opted for bikes...and naturally we went functionality over speed and opted for the mamacharis!! I need to actually get a new one that has kid seats on it, but I'm not sure what route to go with it. I'm thinking an electric powered one would be nice, but I've got to do some research. How do you find riding it, balance wise, when you've got a kid on the front and the back? Is it easy enough?

  • Saitama

    on Jul 9

    @genkidesu at the age your kids are it should be fine, but as they get older (i.e heavier!) balancing two does become more difficult. And contrary to what I expected its movement on the back rather than the front that can throw you off balance. I can't carry my 8 yo on it at all anymore, even if its just him and I amn't using the other seat. Apart from him being too heavy his legs are also too long. 7 yo isn't much better so I avoid it with her as much as possible too. My 5 yo (6 in September) is starting to throw the balance off a bit when she's on the back and K on the front. However, if I just have her (5 yo) on the front its still fine. Does that make sense? (My brain is melting in this heat and I fear so is my articulation!!) I love my mamachari, the kids love it too. When they were babies they used to fall asleep in it! So cute.