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Archive for the ‘Vending Machines’ Category

Photo #22 – Lamborghini vs. Mama’s Chariot (Mamachari)

Lamborghini Countach and Japanese Mamachari Bicycle
This photo corresponds with Episode 4 of the Savage Japan Podcast. Episode 4 can be heard here at SavageJapan.com or here at SavageSnowPodcast.com.


I am fortunate that one of my new house mates just bought a geared bike and is letting me borrow his old mamachari. The mamachari may not be quite as sexy as this Lamborghini Countach I stumbled upon in my neighborhood, but I would still choose this mamachari bicycle over any car for exploration in Kyoto.

Mamacharis are not only ridden by moms as the name might suggest. They are the main source of transportation for all age groups and both genders in Japan. There are plenty of cars in Japan, but I’m sure the number of cars is not anywhere close to the number of mamachari bicycles. Mamacharis are single gear, simple mechanisms that are very low cost, efficient, and easy to keep functioning.

Not having ridden a single gear bike regularly since I was a child, I already find myself longing for one of the many standard and sometimes quite funky, geared bikes that can also be found in Japan. But even with this single geared mamachari, I’m sure I’ll be staying in great biking shape, sprinting all over Kyoto as fast as I can make this bike’s single sprocket spin.

I used to like to think that the word mamachari came from the the English words mama and chariot, but I have since learned that though mama does come from mama, chari comes from another word.

I have heard different ideas on where chari comes from, from different Japanese persons. But my friend Hiro gave me the true answer a long time ago. I need to check with him again to make sure I get the specifics right. I’ll be adding a lot more about Japanese bicycles here and on the podcast in the future

Photo Details: A small group of uniformed staff from Art Sports, a Japanese exotic car broker, were transporting an old, but very well-preserved Lamborghini Countach and a white Porsche Carrera near my new residence in Kyoto. They had just pulled over to grab some drinks from a bank of vending machines on Oike Dori as I was cycling past.

Japan Photo Journal – Living in Japan
Dan Savage [Email]

Grab anywhere on map to scroll around precise spot where above photo was taken. Zoom in & out with buttons in left corner. To learn more about geotagging your own photos, visit LearningtoGeotag.com.

Photo #7 – Young Gaijin Discovers Japanese Vending Machines

Young gaijin discovers Japanese vending machines at the JR Kansai Airport Train Station.

This photo corresponds with Episode 2 of the Savage Japan Podcast. Episode 2 can be heard here at SavageJapan.com or here at SavageSnowPodcast.com.


For your departure from Kansai International Airport, if you choose to board the Haruka Express Train to Kyoto, you will enter at the overhead crosswalk level seen in Photo #5 and then descend to this platform after buying your ticket just inside the entrance of the JR Kansai Airport Station (Photo #6).

A streamlined bank of vending machines beckons with its glow on the dimly lit train platform, giving you a hint of the Japanese vending machine culture that will be experienced throughout your visit.

Photo Details: This image was snapped through the window of the Haruka Express Train, moments before rolling out of the Kansai Airport Station and onto the bridge that connects the airport’s small man-made island to Honshu, Japan’s main island. I suspect this young man has arrived in Japan for his first journey into the land of readily available vending machines. I’m sure many grand adventures are in store for him.

Japan Photo Journal – Living in Japan
Dan Savage [Email]

Grab anywhere on map to scroll around precise spot where above photo was taken. Zoom in & out with buttons in left corner. To learn more about geotagging your own photos, visit LearningtoGeotag.com.

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