The Japanese have traditionally been a very fit, hard-wroking and prosperous people. In the few times I have been here, I feel saddened by the amount of US tobacco that is consumed in Japan, as well as the increasin prevalence of white, processed sugars and food chemicals.
This trip I have been teaching at an old Olympic Compound. It works well with ready made classrooms and resaturants on campus. At lunch time on days with good weather I take a walk around the campus which is adjacent to a large beautful park.
This week I watched a group of small children, with their parents' learning to ride and riding their little bicycles. They were having a blast. I t was clear that this was not just an outing. This was an important skill for their future.
In Japan the bicycle is an important mode of transportation. Both men and women of all ages use it to get to work or to the train station or to do their daily chores. Often you can see a mother or father with 2 babies and a bag of groceries on their bicycle.
The Japanese term for these kinds of Bikes is: Mamachari. They look like a old upright Schwinn and are relatively inexpensive, which means many many people can afford to use them – and do!
Considering the obesity epidemic we are facing in the United States and ultimately world wide, something as simple as the mamachari could help save the planet. Think of it – the inherent exercise of just getting around to daily chores, the reduction in the use of oil and gas, the developing a culture of health and exercise.
What a concept!
If you are interesting in reading more about the mamachari – check out Can the Mamachari Save Tokyo by Chester Leibs.
Until next time – Syounara!