From the mind of LaCole

You can stand under my umbrella… Ay ay ay ay

For the Japanese culture, an umbrella MUST be a staple item in your wardrobe. From almost the moment we landed in Japan until day three it was raining. Everywhere we went there was a sea of umbrellas to shield from an ALL day rain (no exaggerations). From the time we rise for the day until bed time there was rain.

With the sidewalks of Japan being so small or uneven there is what I would call, “battle of the umbrellas.” When traveling up and down the streets of Japan I was always cautious of running into someone else’s umbrella so you would have to put your umbrella above there’s to avoid hitting. The main umbrellas seen in the Tokyo area were the clear umbrellas, which I love. It allows you to see what’s in front of you without raising your umbrella to see what’s coming.

They also use umbrellas when it’s not raining. These are called parasols and they protect you from the blazing sun when it is not raining. From my experience in the U.S., I see people struggling with “normal” umbrellas making sure not to run into anyone and make it to class on time. Here in Japan, people move so effortlessly around the city with umbrellas, it’s like a second nature to them.

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5 responses

  1. This is so true. They are always equipped with their umbrella stands outside the shops and even have the contraptions to dry/bag your umbrella. The Japanese are very ready for any rain that comes their way. I also like how all their umbrellas are clear, it seems unique when we do not see umbrellas like that too often in the U.S.

    May 20, 2011 at 11:26 PM

  2. It was surprising for me to see how well people in Japan moved with umbrellas too. I thought it would be a great hassle for so many people to get around each other with a lot of umbrellas in the way. In America, it seems like people would have a struggle with too many people carrying umbrellas, but in Japan it comes natural.

    May 20, 2011 at 11:26 PM

  3. It was actually a bit of a culture shock the way everyone carried umbrellas and I had to due to the non-stop rain the first few days that made me feel like we were visiting the lost city of Atlantis. In America it is much less popular to carry an umbrella and I never do. I prefer a jacket, but as I said everyone in Japan has an umbrella. I still remember leaving the Tokyo Dome when it was raining and nearly twenty thousand people were stumbling shuffling through the streets with so many umbrellas the sidewalk was completely dry.

    June 3, 2011 at 10:38 AM

  4. I felt so awkward running around with my umbrella at first! But then I started looking at how the Japanese people handled them and took some tips, like lifting your umbrella higher up so you still stay dry but don’t hit other people as you pass them. Japanese courtesy knows no bounds!

    June 5, 2011 at 3:06 PM

  5. Even after getting used to lugging an umbrella with me around Japan, I was still no good at avoiding objects. I move my umbrella to dodge a person, and instead I’d whack a tree. It was interesting watching umbrella’s go by, though. The Japanese were so used to dodging other people, their umbrellas would bob around seemingly instinctively.

    June 12, 2011 at 6:42 AM

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