I’ve noticed during my time in Japan that people are constantly complaining about umbrellas. They complain about losing them, breaking them, forgetting them on rainy days and about having to carry them all day when it’s not raining despite the witch doctors on the forecast claiming it was certain to.
I find this strange for two reasons:
Firstly I remember how uncommon male umbrella use was when I lived in the UK. Despite Britain’s reputation for bad weather it was just much more common for men to use coats rather than umbrellas. People are constantly surprised when I say that I didn’t use an umbrella back home.
“But isn’t England really wet?” They ask.
“Sure,” I reply indulgently “but it’s mostly drizzle.”
People seem to have real trouble understanding that just because a Hugh Grant movie says something is true doesn’t mean it is. Japan gets far heavier rain and likely gets more overall rainfall than England does.
The second reason I find people’s complaints about umbrellas so odd is that while my friends are complaining about losing umbrellas I always seem to end up with more of them than I need.
Before you ask, no I’m not stealing my friends umbrellas.
I live a fair distance from the station I need to go to for my commute and also often walk home after nights out if I miss the last trains. Both are situations in which I feel it’s too far for me to walk without an umbrella.
This results in me often buying more at convenience stores.
My problem seems to be that I don’t have the same umbrella attrition rate that other people do. I generally take good care of my things so rarely lose them unlike others who seem to forget/lose umbrellas often enough that they don’t build up.
In fact I can only remember the loss of one umbrella during my entire three years in Japan. I say loss rather than losing because I knew where it was but just couldn’t take it with me.
Several weeks ago I went to a restaurant in Sakae to celebrate a friend’s birthday. It was a surprise party so we all arrived at the restaurant early and waited for his girlfriend to bring him. When I arrived I put my umbrella in one of those lockable umbrella stands that they have in so many places here.
After the meal I went to retrieve my umbrella to find that another patron had accidentally put their umbrella inside mine then locked theirs in place.
After being laughed at for several minutes by my somewhat drunk friends while trying to extract my umbrella I gave up and headed off to karaoke.
On the plus side at least I have one less umbrella.