If you’re a parent or have ever been the caretaker of a young child than you know how important a tool a stroller can be. It is likely for this reason that I am often asked about about strollers. People coming to Okinawa want to know what to get and what they can expect when they get here. I have touched on this topic a few times before but I wanted to make a post specifically dedicated to strollers, what to expect, what I recommend and what some other people who are here suggest.
The first and most important thing to understand about Okinawa (and Japan in general) is that things are much smaller here than you are used to. This includes sidewalks, store aisles and elevators. This makes it very hard to navigate stores, shops and even sometimes city streets with a double stroller of any kind (i.e. side by side or tandem). The second thing is that in general Okinawa (and Japan in general) does not accommodate for anything that rolls. Generally speaking we’re talking wheelchairs, bikes and of course strollers. You will notice this mostly when out walking along the sidewalk. Sometimes sidewalks will be bumpy, have a steep drop, or even in some cases no ramp to get over the curb. This is one of the reasons that it can be important to securely stow your munchkin in a stroller which is capable of taking a bit of a beating. Finally weight and portability is key. You’re going to carry your stroller, that’s just a fact of life here in Okinawa. It might be up a flight of stairs or into a cab.
*Not too big, things are narrow here.
*Durable, capable of mild offloading
*Light weight and portable
So sure that’s useful . . . . but what do parent’s who are out there right now have to say and what strollers do they recommend? To find out I asked some of our friends over on Facebook.com/okininjakitty and here’s what they have to say.
Our first recommendation came from Rachel who said: “I found it easier to just use a carrier vs. a stroller. We use our mei tai carrier everywhere!” Not knowing what a mei tai carrier was I took some time to check it out and I have to say it is pretty interesting. If you’re familiar with Asian history you may have seen something like this before. This carrier is not only cute, and dare I say fashionable, they also grow with your child. Unlike some other fabric carriers the mei tai carrier offers some great features including padded shoulder straps and even a place to secure a pacifier.These carriers sell for about $89.00USD before shipping and come in a variety of styles.
Next we got a message from Meaghan who said: “Our favorite for busy areas is a lightweight and compact stroller, the best one we have tried is the maclaren volo“. She explained that not only does it maneuver easily but it also folds up quick and easy making getting onto crowded subways or airplanes a piece of cake. Meaghan also expressed that she was impressed with the lifespan of her maclaren volo which is “still going strong with two big boys having been pushed in it so far” and being beat around by “gobs of baggage handlers”. Again, I took some time to look up this stroller and I have to say I am pretty impressed. The Volo is like an umbrella stroller with a few more features which make it more efficient. It’s aluminum chassis allows things to stay durable but light coming in at a total weight of only 9.5lb. The stroller also have a shoulder strap for easy transport. There is also a 5 point harness to keep your little one securely strapped in. The stroller is also equipped with a place to store belongings of maybe favorite toys and a shade. This stroller sells for about $130.00USD.
Finally we heard from Crystal who agreed with both of the wonderful ladies who commented before her. She also added: I love my Maclaren stroller for east of use and my Ergo baby carrier – and they are on their 3rd kid and still working great”. Much like the mei tai carrier the Ergo baby carrier is made of cloth for maximum comfort but is a bit more like a traditional baby carrier in shape (at least from first glance). There are a variety of ways that Ergo carrier can be worn and it also comes with a variety of features including a hood and padded shoulder straps. This item sells for about $150.00USD and up.
As you can see there are a variety of options you can choose for taking your munchkins for a day on the town. So what so you think? Do you have a stroller or carrier that you can’t live without? Tell us all about it in the comments below.
*OkiNinjaKitty did not receive any endorsements for the items above.
*Special thanks to the wonderful recommendations from Maeghan, Crystan and Rachel.