The original words behinds Chimasu

Chimasu is the name my friend and I gave to the Asian snack subscription box business which we started in 2014. The idea behind the box sprung up whilst we were on holiday travelling across the Far East. During this time we had become obsessed with the plethora of tasty food and snacks available.

Each month all subscribers to Chimasu receive a box filled with a range of Oriental snacks from across the Far East and from countries such as China, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Korea, Taiwan and the Philippines.

Chimasu goes beyond just snacks and endeavours to enlighten our followers on historical and cultural aspects of this spectacular part of the world too. As such, we frequently enjoy touching on topics beyond snacks.

One big challenge we faced when starting up was choosing a name. As the Far East includes over 20 countries, hundreds of languages, thousands of snack varieties and over two billion people, finding a name which could go at least part of the way to being representative was never going to be easy.

We often found that a name sounded too Chinese or too Japanese or was not reflective enough of what we were trying to achieve. Sometimes when we thought we were along the right tracks we later discovered that the word had a rude or out of place meaning in another language.

Eventually after a lot of deliberation (and struggle) we decided to mix up words related to food in a variety of Far Eastern languages. Having created a short list of around a dozen candidates we took it to a vote — we asked a selection of friends and family to anonymously state their preferred option.

Some of the most popular included chiyatsu (chi is Chinese for eat, and oyatsu is Japanese for tasty so literally eat tasty), hakoyatsu (hako is the Indonesian for box and oyatsu is Japanese for tasty so literally box tasty) and Chimasu (chi and tabemasu are the Chinese and Japanese words for eat so literally eat-eat).

As you can probably guess, Chimasu came out on top.

The original words behind Chimasu: the Chinese character Chi and Japanese characters Tabemasu