I used to think it was kind of strange how every summer so many women in Japan carry parasols, as though the whole country suddenly slipped back in time to the 19th century. I soon came to understand that this isn’t due to any sort of classic image of propriety or fashion sense, but simply because Japan can be mercilessly hot in the summer, when high temperatures and humidity can make walking around a concrete heat island like Tokyo for too long not just uncomfortable but dangerous.
In light of how much walking you have to do in urban Japan, parasols are actually a pretty smart idea. Still, sometimes they can do their job a little too well, since being insulated from the harsh sunshine can sometimes make you forget about the importance of putting on sunscreen.
There’s now a cute new way to remedy this, though, with a parasol that uses cat paws to tell you how strong the UV rays are.