We Knew It Was Coming, It’s Here….

The Rainy Season.

The Weatherman, Apple and Andretti-san predict the rain will continue until the end of June.

My crystal ball predicts that if The Nose’s care package full of Zoloft doesn’t get here soon, I will sleep until July 1st.

Overnight, life in Japan has adapted to the new season. I’ve discovered a miraculous invention, the automatic umbrella bag. Unfortunately for the environment, now 5 degrees warmer due to my failed efforts, it took several tries before I mastered the “Bag and Go.” This ingenious device allows one to envelop the umbrella in a plastic cover, thus allowing one to remain safe from the dripping umbrella and from an embarrassing entrance, sliding in to the store head first, Home Run Style.

Here I demonstrate the surgical precision of the now perfected umbrella wrap. The meek, spiritless voice heard in the video is the result of millions of E. coli converging upon vocal chords planted by wily Offspring in a futile attempt to block out the sound of my usually thunderous voice gently prodding them toward their greater good in virtuous endeavors such as cleanliness, Godliness, and studiousness.

At home, ubiquitous umbrellas invade the miniscule foyers of thousands of neatly ordered buildings  housing the 23 million Tokyo apartment dwellers. Small gadgetry keeps the umbrellas drying and out-of-the-way while through the marvels of engineering, water drips down the umbrella, in to the catch basin and not on the floor. Can someone figure out how to get rid of the shoes? Or provide Offspring #1 with a non-harmful yet thought-provoking electric shock each time he leaves his shoes in the entryway?

Once purchases have been secured, the clerks get to work readying them for the vicious onslaught of elements awaiting outside. These ninjas of retail aren’t going to let the newly adopted suffer once outside of the nursery. Items are placed in bags, then further encapsulated in multiple layers of plastic, and taped creating the ultimate shopping bag fortress from the rain.

Helicopter view:

Enveloped, encased, encapsulated, enclosed. Ready for any typhoon.

Of course the Japanese, fashionistas that they are, view the rainy season as a Voguing  opportunity. Umbrellas, boots, and rain coats all become fabulous statement pieces. Never before have I seen plastic shoes and boots available in the 4 digit price range with all the big names participating.

With that monster heel, I had to have them. The cost/benefit ratio even once these smashers have been affixed to my legs for after an hour or so, they form a suction cup vacuum seal to my calves rendering them impossible to remove without a small surgical team in place. Once on, my feet don’t see the light of day until the end of the rainy season, at the close of which the seal is broken with a sharp knife and an Offspring pulling on each foot.

Ladies- maybe a few of you guys- will recognize the all too common Tory Burch Reva flat…

How do you like the galoshes iteration? The last time I wore a pair of rubber Jellys- about 1987- my feet looked as if I’d attempted to walk barefoot on burning coals while pulling a cart filled with bricks. I’ll pass on the $200 version for fear of being incapacitated.

Who knew the rainy season is so momentous it is cause for adopting new vocabulary words. According to Amy Chavez in her recent article in the Japan Times Online, one useful word is “Yanda”. She writes:

‘… people on my island are already practicing the “yanda dash.” This is when, especially during seemingly endless downpours during the rainy season, the rain stop for a little bit and people feel the uncontrollable urge to exclaim, “Yanda!” (“the rain has stopped!”) and dash out to do things during this tiny interval of no rain. It’s amazing how much you can get accomplished in just a few minutes if you put your mind to it. ‘

One activity I truly enjoy in the rain is running. Offspring #1 and I are participating in several 10k’s this summer. He as a runner, me as a crawler.  I get to run in this highly sought after “It” outfit for the rainy season.

Running in the rain is peaceful and quiet, and reminds me of Seattle, where both Offspring were born, where I ran every day in the rain, each of them in the stroller, wrapped like the above package, safe from the rain, screaming like banshees to get out.

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29 Responses to We Knew It Was Coming, It’s Here….

  1. Mrs. H. says:

    I love the automatic umbrella bag dispenser! A few grocery stores have started (at least in my part of the United States) supplying bags for umbrellas when it rains as well. But the downside is that you have to wrap your umbrella yourself…which inevitably leads me to a really wet hand and at least one soaked leg. (I’m not very coordinated….) But I love the idea of an automatic dispenser. That’s fascinating! Good luck during the rainy season! Your running outfit is really quite cute! 🙂


    • amblerangel says:

      I agree- I love not getting wet in the process! i wonder if other countries with rainy seasons- or places like Seattle- now have these. When I lived in Seattle we didn’t have anything like this… Good to see you Mrs. H.


  2. Michi says:

    I love the rainy season. Despite frizzy hair, I never tire of it. 🙂


  3. Judy says:

    I love the minimalistic umbrella stand, but all the plastic wrap disturbs me a bit. What happens to it afterwards? Is there a recycling program?


    • amblerangel says:

      That is a great question- I should’ve addressed that- Japan has no place for trash- in fact- finding a garbage can here is IMPOSSIBLE. When we first arrived it was one of the biggest head scratchers. Literally everything is recycled. The used bags are put in special containers placed by the doors on the other side of the exits of all the stores. I had to get “Schooled” when we got here by the apartment management on how to sort garbage in to the 4-separate containers that it must be placed in lest I get hauled in by the garbage police- and fined- for garbage mismanagement. This is the cleanest place I’ve ever been- and the most earth friendly….If you want a thorough scolding, go ahead and drop something on the ground….. I might set up Offspring #1 and then film the consequences just for a laugh….


  4. Who knew Japan had a rainy season! But–at least it doesn’t sound like it lasts too terribly long! I’d love to know if it rains everyday and for how how long.


    • amblerangel says:

      Honey- every day- all day. BUT- starting in July- it goes right to hot, and this summer, there will be power rationing which means no AC. The climate is similar to New Orleans. Can you imagine, 100 degrees, 100 % humidity, bugs, and no A/C?- I’ll be enjoying the rain while it lasts.


  5. We here in Michigan living the rainy season for the past hmmmmm 20 some days. The last time we saw the sun it was on mothers day. For now I can use galoshes and it would be super awesome if they were Tory Burch ones.


  6. Mary Mimouna says:

    Maybe Japan is being affected by the same rainy season we are having in Morocco. I’ve never seen a rainy late spring in Morocco before! It’s almost like a monsoon season. I think usually the rain we’re getting now is falling up in Europe at this time of year.


  7. I HATE rain, I am half cat, and there is nothing more horrific to me than the feel of water on me when I am out and about. I can only handle it if I am in outdoorsy mode, trecking the hills somewhere, dressed in fully waterproof gear, but in the city? Oh no, I must be dry! ack!

    Cool umbrella plastic thingie though, I’d just stay indoors as much as possible, if I must venture out in the hideous rain, I am not a happy cat. *hisses*


  8. Tori Nelson says:

    YANDA! Sorry. I had to.


  9. The Japanese sure do like wrapping things neatly, don’t they? I really like some of the Japanese packaging I’ve seen (even the emergency parcels after the earthquake were pretty), but this is bordering on the scary.


    • amblerangel says:

      BUT- nothing gets wet- and I mean EVERYTHING is wet right now! I’ve even taken to riding my mama cheri in my rain suit- it’s a nice look but safer than riding one handed holding an umbrella.


  10. sweffling says:

    Trying to catch up with my favourite blogs, and have greatly enjoyed reading yours that I have missed.
    Two points spring immediately to mind from this one, A, I love the image of your kids screaming in the stroller as you run along in the rain, and B, I am relieved to hear of the recycling of the plastic. Great sigh of relief.
    There is an island of plastic in the Pacific under which everything is dying. See article below:

    http://www.independent.co.uk Tuesday, 5 February 2008

    The world’s rubbish dump: a tip that stretches from Hawaii to Japan
    By Kathy Marks, Asia-Pacific Correspondent, and Daniel Howden

    A “plastic soup” of waste floating in the Pacific Ocean is growing at an alarming rate and now covers an area twice the size of the continental United States, scientists have said.

    The vast expanse of debris – in effect the world’s largest rubbish dump – is held in place by swirling underwater currents. This drifting “soup” stretches from about 500 nautical miles off the Californian coast, across the northern Pacific, past Hawaii and almost as far as Japan.

    Charles Moore, an American oceanographer who discovered the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” or “trash vortex”, believes that about 100 million tons of flotsam are circulating in the region. Marcus Eriksen, a research director of the US-based Algalita Marine Research Foundation, which Mr Moore founded, said yesterday: “The original idea that people had was that it was an island of plastic garbage that you could almost walk on. It is not quite like that. It is almost like a plastic soup. It is endless for an area that is maybe twice the size as continental United States.

    In fact I think I may have to write a post on this sometime, the wildlife that is dying because of ingesting this stuff is appalling.


    • amblerangel says:

      I just looked this up and found a similar article in “Ecology” dated about the same time. That article stated a similar trash vortex in the North Sea. Apparently anything that’s plastic ends up in one of these spots? YIKES!!! Makes me really glad recycling is on the rise. I think I’m going to have to do a post on the militant recycling program here…now even the screw tops to the plastic bottles are recycled separately…..


  11. 2summers says:

    Great post. I love all the rain paraphernalia. We are entering the exact opposite season here — no rain in Joburg for the next 5 months.


    • amblerangel says:

      Yesterday was a typhoon- every entertaining as I look at them as mild hurricanes. Same weather pattern. Swirling pattern with an eye. As the eye passed through, the sun came out, I guess people yelled,”Yanda” and went out- and then the rain and wind started up again. Very eery!


  12. Dana says:

    I’m also relieved to hear about all the recycling in Japan. We pay extra here (by choice) to haul our soft plastics to a special depot for recycling– I can’t imagine putting it all in the trash! I will be smiling for the rest of the afternoon imagining your young children screaming inside of a sealed stroller while you hit the pavement in Seattle. A woman’s gotta do what a woman’s gotta do, right? 😉


    • amblerangel says:

      I’m one of those women who laughs when other mother’s kids are screaming- out of sympathy- and completely ignores mine when they are screaming. On planes I always prepare with ear plugs.

      Some of our runs were fun- and every now and then open air. One time while running in Seattle, Offspring #1 and I heard a rooster crowing. I discovered that I could really get it going by crowing back. OF#1 was really laughing at the rooster and I going back and forth. Rooster, me, Rooster, me, Rooster, me- then we heard someone yell “SHUT UP!!!!!” I still laugh about that. Good times, god times….


  13. It rained every day of May but one, here in New Brunswick, but I never bother with an umbrella because we have too much wind here (and I’m always carrying too much stuff).

    Love the umbrella holder…neat idea!

    I love that you run in the rain…jealous of anyone who can run in any weather…my knees prevent me from that!



    • amblerangel says:

      Knees are a pain … I feel for you. My only problem with my great suit is it’s HOT!!!! I saw some really sweet panchos- might try that just to get some air in…..A lot of people here wear rain hats which look hilarious.. I think. I still laugh at them. Gutsy going commando, Wendy. That’s what I call sans umbrella.


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