Helter-Swelter

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.

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They bring shade …

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… where there is none …

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… or make fashion statements.

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Children carry them to school.

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Banks and hotels stockpile them at the entrance.

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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.

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

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In the glaring sun I understand the value of shade.

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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.

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Those who do not.

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Those with umbrellas.

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Now I understand.

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