I guess the weather is at the very soul of any country. People have to adapt to it. It does not work the other way around. … Not yet, at least. One of the first things in Tokyo that strike me as odd is the abundance of umbrellas.


They bring shade …


… where there is none …


… or make fashion statements.


Children carry them to school.


Banks and hotels stockpile them at the entrance.


Umbrellas are on sale everywhere. The citizens of Tokyo seem to be obsessed with umbrellas. Whenever a trace of sun or rain appears in the sky umbrellas go up. I conclude that people in Tokyo are somewhat out of sync with their environment. Come on. A few drops of rain? A few rays of sun?

Then nature explains. On the day before Tanabata I find myself in the middle of a big street festival.


Temperatures rise to the upper thirties. People dance in the streets.


In the glaring sun I understand the value of shade.


I develop a routine to enter shops whenever my headache begins to throb. It feels like rotating between a fridge and a sauna. The difference in temperature must be at least fifteen degrees. Humidity rises to saturation. Then comes the rain. Suddenly there are three kinds of people:

Those who find shelter.


Those who do not.


Those with umbrellas.


Now I understand.

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