A transparent smile

Oh, so you like riding your bicycle through rainstorms, do you? Hmm, holding an umbrella while riding doesn’t sounds too safe. Unless you’re in Japan:

See through umbrella

Yes, the see-through umbrella, yet another Japanese fixture that once again makes me question why something that’s perfectly sensible in Japan is found nowhere else I’ve been.

When I first arrived, I thought that clear, plastic umbrellas might have been a feminine thing but no, they’re a standard item in every convenience store.  One can be yours for around $5 AUD, and if it’s raining, the ultra-polite staff will even ask you if you want it unwrapped from its plastic sheath immediately and the garbage disposed of.

While perfectly designed for bike riding, they do prove to have a short lifespan.  Eventually, a hole will wear through near one of the struts, or the slightly flimsy frame will be blown inside-out during the next typhoon.  For a city where you rarely see litter, typhoon season sees the streets lined with the abandoned umbrella corpses, discarded by their no-doubt damp former owners.

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6 thoughts on “A transparent smile

  1. I has a clear umbrella. Of sorts. It is shaped like a mushroom. It’s clear with some randomly spaced brown stripes. And I can pull it over my head and shoulders and look through between the stripes.

    Yay for looking ridiculous, and staying half dry.

  2. Awesome! Simply awesome. Jason Statham rips out another cracking romp in Transporter 3. It is pretty much exactly like Transporter 2. This is such a relief as I’m glad they didn’t mess with the patented “Jason Statham has 24 hours to punch everyone in the face” plot. It is pretty much the basis of all his movies to date (particularly Crank) and is an absolute winner. Five stars.

    • And then there is Death Race. Again – Awesome. Seems to have a cross of Deadwood and Oz as far as cast is concerned but Mr Jason Statham doesn’t punch anyone in the face so much as drive through them. Again – five stars.

    • Well, being the connoisseur of face-punching movies that I am, I’ll definitely see this, even though Transporter 2 left me a bit cold. I think it was just that his annoying sidekick / romantic interest was just too annoying. Still, when this comes out in Tokyo one day a long time from now (Transporter’s subtle dialogue requires sophisticated translation of course), I’ll be lined up to see it. In fact, I think I might drag out the DVD for number 1 again…

  3. Sorry to disappoint but transparent umbrellas are very much common in Australia 😉 It’s a reasonably new thing though. Probably brought home by intrepid travellers of the Japanese isle, not unlike yourself, and sold to Woolies for a tidy profit.

    In other news, Ben and I are coming to Japan. Next year. In April.
    Fingers crossed that you’ll still be there 🙂

    • Foiled once again! First I find out that footens are in Australia and now this! I even had a plan to buy low and sell high importing umbrellas back home. Sigh… my dreams of building an umbrella empire are over before they begin.

      Oh, and very exciting to hear you’re Japan-bound! I’ll make sure I’ve discovered some things that are actually exclusive to Japan before you get here 🙂

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