I think I’m starting to be too used to Japan and I’m loosing my capacity to be surprised by “things that make Japan different”. I uploaded his picture to Flickr and many users told me that all umbrellas in the picture except mine are transparent!
Yes, the transparent umbrella is the most common one in Japan. They’re cheap and they break easily, but people does not care because it’s seen as a temporary or emergency umbrella. Many transparent forgotten umbrellas can be found on the streets after some rain,. Also, I call the transparent umbrella the “community umbrella” because when you put your transparent umbrella together with other transparent umbrellas when you enter a shop or restaurant… then when you leave the place you don’t really know which one was your umbrella so you just get one 🙂 It would be interesting to track a transparent umbrella around Tokyo during rainy week, I bet it would have many “owners” until it breaks.
Another advantage is that you can more or less see what it’s in front of you. In fact when riding a bicycle under the rain it is really useful, although I think it is illegal to ride a bike with an umbrella in Japan. I do it all the time and the police never said anything to me.
Japan is the country in the world where more umbrellas are produced during a year, and transparent umbrellas are the most common here. It must have some kind of record, It could the most successful umbrella of all times, maybe the news super-umbrellas will be the transparent ones 😉 ? Do you know which company makes these transparent umbrellas?