Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Singin' in the Rain

On the first day of the rainy season
From even before I arrived in Tokyo, people told me in sympathetic whispers, "Caitlin, do you know Tokyo has a rainy season that lasts from the beginning of June to the end of July? (conveniently, of course, coinciding with my travel dates)  It rains the entire time and it is so humid!" To which I answered with a phrase I am beginning to realize I use more and more frequently, "Remember, I am from the South."

"Bring on the mosquitoes, humidity, summer storms, and scorching weather; its nothing that I haven't experienced before."

Confident in my Southern-life derived ability to enjoy summer irregardless of insects and weather, and still scarred from my decision to pack my big heavy rain boots in my suitcase when I studied abroad in Turkey (of which the six weeks I was there it rained only one day, you can decide for yourself the pragmatism of that decision), I put no value in the kind warnings I had received.  Coincidentally, I did not pack my rain boots or my rain jacket, and on one of my first days here, I lost my only umbrella.

Losing my umbrella; however, was more a blessing in disguise than anything else because it gave me the opportunity to invest in a Japanese umbrella.  You might ask, "what is so special about a Japanese umbrella?"  The question really to ask is, "what isn't special about a Japanese umbrella?"  Small, compact, light, colorful, and available for a few hundred yen about every 100m down a street at a convenience store, the umbrellas available here are not only cheap but as every everything else here in Japan, they are also cute.

The umbrellas here come in all shapes and sizes. Below is my amateur survey of umbrellas across the city.  They get quite the use during Tokyo's infamous rainy season (which unlike the "rainy season" in Istanbul, really does exist here in Japan!).  Enjoy!

A smattering of umbrella styles

Most common: clear umbrellas

The ever popular sun umbrella, as seen on the left

I am always impressed by the people who manage
to match their outfit with their umbrella

Super blurry but equally impressive are the
people who carry groceries, hold an umbrella,
and simultaneously ride a bicycle in the rain.

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