A couple of years ago, one of my students told me that on a trip she took to New York City (about 10 years before), she was surprised by many things...but one thing in particular was almost shocking. The traffic? The almost naked billboards all over the city? The fashion and/or hairstyles of the people she saw? No...No (those were kind of nice)....and No/No.
What surprised her the most was the fact that, even though she was there in the summer, when the temperatures were waaaaaay up in the "almost 100's" with very few clouds in the sky....on the street....in New York City, mind you....She was the only one carrying a parasol. Only one. No one else.
She asked me, "Why?"
I honestly was stumped for an answer...."Ummmmm....the streets are really crowded and you can put an eye out with an parasol." "They all left their's at home that day." "Only really old ladies in Atlanta or New Orleans or Ft. Lauderdale carry them."
I was stumped. I rarely had a rain umbrella on my person, let alone a parasol!!!
With the changing times and those evil UV rays and you know, sometimes it's just a little bit cooler if you carry your own shade around....I am now carrying...yes...a parasol.
Here in Japan....if you don't carry one, you are the odd duck out. I found an interesting site that tells a little about Japan and it's "parasol
fetish frenzy"....It's called Sara's Parasols and she has some really beautiful ones you can buy. (No, really...they are!!!)
So...a few years ago...I decided that even though I just didn't look the frilly parasol type...and I tried....I really did....(My lovely British friend~a tiny slip of a woman~who does carry a lacy parasolic-contraption, let me borrow hers one day, to make a point you see...I think she might have actually snorted!!!)....I still needed some kind of protection from the sunshine. So....I found one of these.....
When I first started carrying it, the looks I got were....Kodak Picture moments. You see...though non-geisha-type-women in Tokyo and Osaka may carry them, here in Nagasaki....no...huh-uh...that's for "traditional Japanese dance".
"Oh...pooh to that," says I....and off I went, carrying my dark purple paper parasol.
That was three years ago. The people who see me all the time are accustomed to it and if I don't have it, will ask about where it is or where I have forgotten it (It's happened!). It protects me from the harsh rays of the sun and still makes a statement...one that says, "Oh, poop on ya...I'll carry what I want!!" :-D
The other night, I dug my beloved parasol out of the closet to see what kind of shape it is in....here is what I found:
This weekend....I'm going to be strong...I'm going to get a new parasol...a new shiny one...without holes or rips!! I am going to do it. Gosh...if I do this...I might just be able to go through all my boxes of papers and stuff and start throwing them away, too!!! Lord only knows what I throw away next....but first....the parasol......!!!