Japanese Mothers with Big Cars

Last autumn there was a good drama on TV called Abarenbo Mama. One of the key storylines was how the young stepmother, Ayu, would get along with the other mothers at her son’s kindergarten. Although it was a comedy, “mama groups” really do exist in Japan, and mothers go out of the way to fit into these groups.

That means they have to share the same interests, opinions, fashion sense, attitude to their husbands, goals for their children, and anything else required to keep the status quo.

Got a small child? Get a big car!

Over the last few years, one of the more eye-catching similarities between mothers of young children is their need for a big car. They are supposed to be family sized, but I’m sure you could get half a sumo stable in these so-called “mini” vans.

It’s not the best photo, but you can see how the mothers at my local kindergarten all have 5-door hatchbacks off a grayscale palette.

Mama Group Mini Vans

I really don’t understand why small children need such large cars? These days it’s rare for a family to have more than two children, but even our little pink ‘n’ gay Lapin is big enough for two adults, two children and a push chair.

Maybe it’s a case of keepin’ up with Joneses, but it could also have something to do with the culture of husbands giving their monthly paychecks to their wives, and getting some pocket money in return. Perhaps these mamas have bought themselves big “mini” vans, while they let their husbands drive around in one of these:

Japanese Salaryman\'s Car

8 comments

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  2. Mum

    There are not nearly so many large cars being used here now. Even in our little close two of the big family cars have been replaced by smaller sensible cars. I could never understand why a family of four needed a seven seater. I once asked the children in my class and was told that children liked to sit in a different seat each time they went out. I was however grateful when those mothers offered to drive some of my class on school trips which saved us having to hire minibuses or coaches.

  3. Mike

    Yeah I noticed that in Japan… there’s all these huge passenger vans.. I think Im going to do a story on it on MichaelMcKinlay.com!

  4. Dan R

    Well, compared to Delicas and Bongos these are still pretty small. And they’re seriously practical – far more so than a Volvo even. You can just get sooo much stuff in these bad boys. And they’re surely better than pointless 4X4s raised up to kyu-car crushing heights.

    Still, I think that Lapin rocks. We’re just starting to see more Cubes over here now, so I suppose it won’t be long before Lapins, even in gay pink, start rolling off the boats at Avonmouth.