A good friend of mine is living in Tokyo, and took a picture of this fancy "mama chari"
Mama chari translates into "mom bike." I don't know if adding the prefix "mom" to it makes it somehow... less cool (like mom jeans or something), but this is a rad bike. My friend says that this is on the higher end of bikes - just the fact that there is a market for these and that they can bee seen so casually is awesome. Look at the awesome front and back seats for kids.
I mean I know that there are people here in the US that have all sorts of fancy kid toting bikes but to see them casually on the street is a rarity. I lived in the second biggest city in the US for four years and saw a bakfiets once... and that was when I went to a convention for bike nerds. Cool things like this just don't float around.
Which brings me to another point, it's quite awesome that Japan, a dense, hyper-modernized country has embraced the bicycle. We often think that bicycles are for the quaint europeans with the quasi-feudal lifestyles. Even though that's not the case, we all know of Japan's propensity to adopt/generate technology and despite this, bicycles are abundant. Not just crude monstrosities for single dudes, but high end bikes for middle class folk. I would love for the bike industry to get to that point in the US. We are getting there. Every year more bike companies are offering more townie/commuter versions, and that is great.
Another awesome thing I was told... is that this bike wasn't even locked up. Japan has a very trusting nature and not locking bikes is a very common occurrence. I don't know if I'd ever get to the point where I'd feel good about leaving my bike unlocked, but it is encouraging to know that there are places where people can be trusted not to steal something.