On a beautiful Sunday afternoon in early May, I flew to the beach in Zushi, which is the popular destination for city surfers and yacht enthusiasts living and working in central Tokyo. It was a warm windy day, and people were enjoying the sunshine on the beach or in the sea. Everything looked perfect. I sat down on the sand just like others were doing and picked onigiri up from my backpack which I just bought at a convenience store on the way here. It was Konbu flavour. I opened up carefully tearing transparent paper with which onigiri was covered and folded it in my hands with nori making a little bit of round shape. Oh, what a nice combination it is to eat onigiri on the beach, with the wind blowing from the sea which adds more salty taste in my mouth. I am fully alive with onigiri!
It was right before my second bite of onigiri that something hit through from my back. So quick did I understand nothing. I was shocked in awe. It was a wild hawk that took my onigiri away and it flew out straight away chased by a crowd of other wild birds. It could have been worse, but as soon as my conscious got back, I was left with irritation. I lost an onigiri battle with a hawk. I even didn’t notice when I entered this game, but I lost! I stood up recklessly and got my way back to Zushi station as if nothing had happened. Not to mention I had another onigiri to fulfil my appetite and my shocked heart.
I had been dreaming of having my own bicycle here in Japan. Japan is not that much bike-friendly country compared to Europe in terms of road facilities, but still it’s safe and handy to bike in a short distance. People bike to their nearest train stations, supermarkets, and to schools by their commune bicycles called “mamachari”. Mama means mother in Japanese and chari is an informal casual word for bicycle. So, basically, it’s a custom-made bicycle for mothers to help their ‘household’ tasks such as going to a supermarket and taking their children to pre-school. However, it is widely used by all ages and I wanted to be one of the mamachari users as well.
This intention to be mamachari user brought me to several bicycle shops for bike hunting and finally I met the one which I really want to ride on. It was a 26-inch bicycle, of course, mamachari type with U-shaped handle and in the front basket. Although it was second-hand, maintenance was perfectly done and the price was nicely set. No hesitation at all. I bought it right away and it became my foot since then.
I have been always happy no matter where I go by this chari. I also purchased grey rain cover for my chari. I don’t want it to go rust nor get stolen so I pay great attention when I have to leave it outside. It was when I went for coffee by my chari in my neighbourhood. After 3 hours of book reading refreshment at a cafe, I came back to my chari and one thing, a little-unexpected thing was waiting for me. Empty after use drink pack in my chari basket. I was confused. Is it mine? Did I leave something in my basket? No. Then anger aroused. I was not angry for being treated like this, rather I was angry on behalf of my chari. Who did this to my chari? Please don’t do this to my baby!
Oh dear, I definitely became ‘mama’ of my chari. Now I know why it is called mamachari and people love it. It cultivates your motherhood as you enjoy riding and it ties you every day in every way like a bond between mother and child!