Rolly Slide Madness

Because I have this fantasy about being a travel writer, and generally nothing better to do, I figured I would start a blog. This is actually my second attempt at blogging. The first one made it 6 entries. I hope to make this one a little longer.

On to business.

For our first Okinawa adventure, we have rolly slides. For those of you not familiar, we have these crazy slides here that use hundreds of small rollers to slide you along. Completely different than the metal surface slides we are used to in the States. Other than the sliding surface, these slides also tend to be longer and taller than their U.S. equivalents, just check out the pictures to see for yourself.

First up is Manta Park. This park is over in the Awase area, just down the road from Aeon, Sports Depo, and Nitori. The park features a large tower with a large rolly slide and a smaller concrete slide.

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I’ll be honest, it looks impressive but it pretty much sucks. You just can’t get going. I had to constantly pull my self along the slide just to get down. The rollers are large ( about an inch in diameter) and painful on the bottom.

The little concrete slide in front (the blue one) is actually a lot of fun. Second best slide on the island so far. You get on and the bottom just drops out. And I think the Japanese designers just forgot to put in a landing zone. There really isn’t one. It’s pretty tough to stop 190 pounds in less than 5 feet! Be careful on this one. I could see a broken ankle here.

Second is the equally impressive looking slide at Tobaru Koen Park.

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To get to this slide, you have to climb a pretty big set of stairs. Not a welcome sight considering Hannah and I had climbed the “Stairway to Heaven” a couple of times two days before. Needless to say, we only did this one twice. It starts of rather slow. Lame actually. The spiral part at the top could be awesome, but there just isn’t enough pitch to the slide. That all changes about halfway down. The angle changes drastically. You will build up quite a bit of speed on this one. There was a nasty bump (flat spot) that caused me to lose my cardboard (more on that later) towards the end, but overall it was a lot of fun. If the whole slide was like the last half, this would probably be the most fun you could have in Okinawa.

Outside of the slide, this is the best park we’ve been to in Okinawa. It has a nice running track around it, nice public restrooms, and get this…they even cut the grass there regularly. Astonishing, I know.

Last up is the slide at Yaejima Koen or Civic Center Park. This is the best slide so far. The park itself is rather unkempt. The grass is really tall and overgrown and you can smell the bathrooms from the parking lot, but the slide is worth it. To get to the slide, you have to climb up a spiral staircase inside of this fake wooden treehouse thingy. It’s a little tricky to get on, but once you do, hang on. This one is pretty fast from the word go. Just ask the group of elderly Japanese men playing yard golf nearby how much fun I had on this slide. I was howling like an idiot from start to finish. Definitely an A+. Sorry, no picture of this one until next time.

There is also a drop slide in this park. That’s a whole different animal. My advice is to avoid this one, especially if you’re wearing flip flops. Don’t ask!

Now, a bit of rolly slide advice. Don’t even think about trying a rolly slide with good clothes on. You should wear clothes you could get dirty or torn up. These parks aren’t always clean, the slides are exposed to the elements (read: dirty), and there is quite a bit of friction generated between the slide and your…um..bottom. Which leads me to the second piece of advice, bring cardboard to pad your butt. It needs to be a substantial piece of cardboard too. You’re going to slide all over it, and probably lose it altogether about halfway down the slide. I think a piece of thick plastic would actually be better. I’ll have to look for one next time I go to Makeman (Japanese Walmart/Home Depot). That would probably make the slides faster and more enjoyable, especially for my butt!

That’s all for now. If you know of any super cool rolly slides we should check out, please post to the comments section. Thanks!

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