we're now in the rainy season in tokyo. apparently, it is usually stinking hot and sticky with about 90% humidity, but at the moment it's freezing. but it is raining. in fact, it was raining when i first got here and i discovered something rather quickly.
i was carrying my sodden umbrella around a beautifully presented store, looking like a drowned rat and leaving a damp trail behind me, when i realised no one else in the shop was carrying their umbrellas. i quickly scurried out and saw racks outside every shop for said umbrellas. Marvellous! i ventured down the street armed with this new knowledge, convinced that never again would i look like a stupid gaijin. i confidently waded over to hiroo plaza and into a very swish supermarket to buy a packet of sugar (which took me 15 minutes all up as i can't read hiragana, katakana or kanji). i got to the supermarket entrance and there was no umbrella stand.
imagine my dilemma. i noticed people in the shop carrying their umbrellas as i squinted through the windows without benefit of my glasses. aha! in i went, almost brandishing my accoutrement in glee as i felt i had accomplished something (remember, it's the small things). i walked proudly for 15 minutes over the same 4 aisles (it's a tiny supermarket) looking for the damn sugar, pretending i knew what i was doing, as i would pick up an item and peruse it with an intelligent look on my face, pretending i could read japanese script. then, to my horror, i realised that once again, i was the only person to be carrying a dripping umbrella. although there was no rack at the entrance to the store, long, plastic sheaths are provided to protect the aforementioned umbrellas from dripping upon their pristine floors.
gotta love this country.