Sunday, November 11, 2012

Akachan Honpo Tour

I joined a few women this week for a "decipher the labels tour" at one of the baby super stores in Tokyo. Akachan Honpo is one of the main stores, though Babies R Us is also here. And, of course, Amazon is available online and very popular.

Tokyo Urban Baby Tour.
It appears I'm being swallowed by my scarf
This blog post has a few more pics from our outing.

I've been a few times to Akachan Honpo, so this was just an excuse to get together with some other women. Generally speaking, it is evident that diapers are diapers, baby tubs are baby tubs, etc.. Brands are different, but you can also buy Pampers and Johnson and Johnson products. But there are lots of other things that you don't quite know their purpose or that you need them.

For example, I didn't know that I might need a roll of diaper-bag-friendly dirty diaper trash bags (a la dog poo bags). Japan has amazingly strict guidelines on trash disposal and some places request that you take your dirty diapers with you. Who knew?

I also didn't know that newborn sizes in Japan are often a touch smaller than the American newborn sizes. Since sizes are in metric here, I haven't compared items yet, but it seems plausible. Good information to have before I go and stock up on newborn diapers and onesies that our kiddo might never even wear. 

And what about this?  

It's called a "haramaki" and it keeps your stomach warm. Many people believe that you shouldn't allow your stomach, and therefore, your baby to get cold. No, really. I had a woman offer me a blanket at a fireworks display this summer despite temperatures above 100 degrees. Just in case. 

I don't plan to wear Mickey knit pants anytime soon, but there are some other cleverly designed items. If you have a c-section, there are special undergarments that open via snaps/velcro at the bottom so that you don't have to pull them up and down. Some women also use these in the early phases of labor when the doctor is checking dilation, etc..

And many baby clothes are kimono style where the top wraps over and then you tie it. Other than my uselessness with ties, that seems very baby-dressing friendly. 

Finally, one of the most interesting things is how few car seats Akachan Honpo sells compared with the endless variety of strollers and baby carriers. Of course, fewer people have cars, so car seats are less important, though still required if you do drive. But you definitely want to make sure your stroller can make it through the ticket gate and can stand up to city life. 

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