Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Small Adventures #15

Rainy Season in Tokyo usually starts in June and runs until July. When I first came to Japan in 1992, it was just at the beginning of rainy season, and there was a hot, heavy mist in the air almost non-stop for 3 weeks. There was actual rain (a heavy drizzle) all day every day. This year, the weather has been a lot more erratic, with hot, humid, sunny days alternating with a cooler rain fall. Kind of like what I grew up with in Minnesota. In any case, most commuters in Tokyo know enough to bring umbrellas with them wherever they go during this period.

On Friday, the sky was overcast all day, with scattered sprinkles during the afternoon (when I was out riding along the Tamagawa for an hour). At 5:30 PM, I was getting ready to go to an office event in Akihabara. Since I was wearing my business suit, I made sure to have a small folding umbrella in my backpack. It was raining fairly hard, so I pulled the umbrella out and used it on the way to the train station a couple blocks away. Because the umbrella was now dripping wet, I kept it out of the backpack during the ride to Noborito, and for the transfer to the Odaku line. In the Odakyu part of the station I stopped at the kiosk to buy the newspaper. It wasn't until I got up to the Odakyu platform to ride in to Shinjuku that I realized I'd left the umbrella at the counter of the kiosk when I pulled out the change from my pocket to pay for the paper. Rather than worry about going back for the umbrella, since the platform was covered and the rain wasn't that heavy, I decided to just continue on to Akihabara.

I arrived in Akihabara 45 minutes before I needed to be at the event, and the rain had subsided to a light drizzle again. So I walked the two blocks to Tully's coffee shop at the base of the UDX building, got myself a mango slushie, and kicked back to read Garo magazine for a bit. Unfortunately, the rain soon picked up and had turned into a real downpour by the time I was ready to leave. The nearest 7-11 was a couple of blocks away, so I headed in that direction, and found a broken umbrella that someone had discarded. It was almost enough to keep my head and shoulders dry, but everything from waist level on down got soaked (everyone else around me was in the same condition because of the winds, so the banged-up nature of my umbrella wasn't the issue).

I got to the event, dried off, and spent the next couple of hours talking to students at a restaurant. By 9:30, the rain had stopped and I was able to discard the broken umbrella. When I got into Noborito, I decided to take a shot at being lucky and stopped in at the kiosk. The clerk very happily reached behind her and handed me my little folded umbrella.

Only in Japan.

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