Today marks Umbrella day in Japan which just goes to show that it’s not just England which comes up with ridiculously themed days. This is supposed to mark the start of the rainy season in Japan which lasts for a month or so and is a day befitting of the Japanese who are probably the most umbrella-conscious nation. In fact, its always easy to spot the hordes of Japanese tourists on holiday (if it wasn’t already) as they are the ones with the umbrellas come rain or shine.
I have lost count of the number of times students have gone on about having four seasons which surprised me at first as I always took it for granted that most countries have the same number of seasons. Maybe its not even true as this rainy season could also be added on to that total.
If my menory serves me correctly my first experience of the famous Shibuya crossing was a complete sea of umbrellas as was the overly crowded shopping street Takeshita Dori in Harajuku which was quite a spectacle and very Japanese. It only takes a single spit of rain in the air and umbrellas go up.
Conversely there may not be any rain or even any sun (for Japanese use umbrellas for shade which given the dangers of the suns rays is probably no bad idea) but its not too uncommon to see an umbrella or two. That cloudy weather can be a little dangerous!! I guess the locals are so familiar with holding them that they don’t even realise when they are just not needed.
UK law says that a cyclists hands must both be on the handlebars at all times but no such rules prevail in Japan where cyclists can always be seen playing with their mobiles, smoking or of course holding umbrellas. I hate to think how much plastic is wasted each year making th millions of umbrellas that each person gets through over 12 months. In England I had one umbrella which lasted me over 10 years but I get through at least 10 umbrellas a year. Their ubiquitous nature and cheap cost mean that it really doesn’t matter if one leaves it at work or on the train.