When it’s raining in Tokyo

by Diane on 12/08/2010

When it’s raining in Wellington, people just get wet. They usually don’t bother using an umbrella, the strong winds would probably destroy them within a short time anyway. In other parts of New Zealand and in Germany (well, probably in most countries of the world, but I know for NZ and Germany for sure) people use umbrellas. And when they go into a shop or a supermarket, they try to get rid of some of the raindrops on it by waving it around and getting other people wet. Inside then the umbrellas drip on the floor, building up slippery puddles of rain water which can cause people to fall. Not to speak of wet pants, when people accidentally touch their legs with the umbrella.

The Japanese have a different system for dealing with wet umbrellas. To keep the water outside when the weather is crappy, all shops have a plastic cover dispenser for umbrellas at their entrance. You put your umbrella in from the top and when you take it out towards the front it’s covered in a condom like wrapper. This is how the shop floors stay dry and people don’t slip. And you don’t need to fear that anyone will get you completely wet when they wave their umbrella around in order to get it dry before they enter the shop. Awesome idea!

It would be great to see a more reusable solution, using a plastic cover once and then throwing it into the rubbish bin doesn’t sound right to me. But it’s a start and certainly limits some risks associated with wet floors.

But when you want to go to a museum or a restaurant, you’re usually not keen to carry your umbrella around, regardless if it’s placed in a cover or not. That’s why such places often have a lockable umbrella holder at the entrance of the building. Put the head of the umbrella in, close the lock, remove the metal plate to lock and your umbrella will be waiting securely locked up until you return. That’s how Tokyo stays nice clean and tidy even in nasty weather conditions.

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