typical japanese – Umbrellas and other normal stuff


If you travel thru foreign countries, you will become in contact with things you never saw before. In Japan this includes all kind of food, but also tools of the daily life. And I don’t talk about the rice cooker. There are far more crazy things. In my travel blog I gave myself a limit of 12 pictures per day. Therefore is was not always possible to show you the things I saw while I was rushing from attraction to attraction. In 2009 I was not in Japan. Therefore I dedicated this year to all the things that make Japan a crazy but loveable place; the things that will cause the cultural shock, you heard about.


Japanese are very concerned about always having a umbrella available. July and August is rain saison. Umbrellas are mandatory. You can buy one in every 7eleven for only 100yen ($1). Sometimes you can get one as a give-away. If you make a fuzz about umbrellas, you also have the following things covered:

This is a umbrella locker in front of a restaurant. You can store your wet umbrella outside and be sure that is stays there. But who should steal an umbrella? Everyone has a umbrella. I first recognized these lockers in 2004 and said this is overdoing. But in 2008 I saw this: A “wet-umbrella-into-a-bag-o-mat”. You fold your wet umbrelle and put it into the hole in the top. After a few seconds your umbrella is inside a plastic bag. It will not bother other customer or soil the products.

Plastic food

The story is told that plastic food was invented in Meiji restauration. During this area a lot of foreign people (mostly from England) arrived in Japan. No one was able to read Kanji. A innkeeper had the idea to show the food that can be ordered in his restaurant. You may know this from the cantine at the company or university. You can say that the Japanese perfected this art.

This has a big benefit I often used: You asked the waiter to follow you outside. Then you show him the food you want. The order is done without a kanji dictionary. There is nothing shameful about it. Plastic food was invented for this in the first place. A digital camera is a upgrade to this methode. Take picture and show it to the waiter.

Dinge des Alltags

How else shall I name them? For Japanese these things are totally normal. But for Europeans they are exotic, somehow. Even if the Japanese life is becoming more western style and we know a lot about Japan. These are also the things we automatically recognize from anime. Public phones are green. And the have IR and RJ45-jackets for Notebooks. You can use them as a modem. With there old fashioned design the look like the dinosaur of modern communication.

Everywhere in Japan you will see the red buckets filled with water. You will find them in old temples as well as in narrow streets in megacity Tokyo. Modern rules prescribe smoke detectors and fire extinguisher, but the red bucket is still a part of a japanese street scene. The Kanji mean “Use in case of fire”.

The following is really something special. I saw it 2010 in Sounkyo Onsen. The securing of a contruction site was perfected in Japan (I mentioned it when I talked about Ueno). But this also includes the perfectioning of the site fence. I heard that there are also deers.

This the other thingie is … I don’t know how to put it, but it looks completely normal if you are in Japan. And I really hope that this is the bus of a kindergarden. Every other explaination would be strange.


And the following really exits. Female tour guide with a stupid hat and a flag. And you can be sure that the hole tour group will wear a badge that has the same color and picture as the flag.

If there is a tour guide, there also is a tour bus. Combine this with the fact that Japan is “Hello-Kitty-Land” you will end up with this (and no, that is not the bus of a kindergarden).

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