• 27 . 06 . 04
  • Umbrellas are the must-have accessory in the rainy season. Just as long as you don’t take them out in the rain and ruin them.

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Umbrellas are a necessity in Japan. Not for their actual use; even in rainy season it rarely gets any worse than a typical English storm (and the rain is warm too). No, you need an umbrella here to fit in. Umbrellas are a national obsession. They can cost anything from ¥500 for a see-through, plastic job to ¥10,000 for a designer umbrella, such as Pierre Cardin or Louis Vuitton. Whether these are any better at protecting your from the elements, I’m not sure…

Being a gaijin, I already don’t fit in. Being English, and having spent the last five years in Manchester, the rain is like an ever-present friend. It was very rare for me to use an umbrella in England, as just a coat would do. Consequently, when I leave my house and it’s raining, I don’t think about them until I get to street level. Then, everybody has one and I remember that it’s ok to use one here.

The best umbrellas though, are those used on sunny days. These aren’t simple parasols, they are high tech sunshade devices. Inside the umbrella is supposed to be an ultra-violet filter which stops any harmful radiation getting to the body. It is normally old women who carry them, and in summer here you can see more umbrellas here than you can in winter back home

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