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