From viral hit to real product with the help of fans online!
Japanese inventions have a reputation for being incredibly awesome, incredibly bizarre, and, um, even more incredibly bizarre. And this latest creation is no exception: say hello to the chair-umbrella.
Ever needed a seat but all you had was a stupid, useless umbrella? Well never again! Just turn this amazing invention upside-down, open it up, sit on down, and prepare to be stared at and asked if you need to be taken to a hospital.
Umbrellas have been around for a very, very long time. The oldest record of a collapsible umbrella dates back to 21 A.D. in ancient China. While that in itself is pretty crazy, what’s even crazier is that the core design hasn’t really changed.
Never say never, though! A Japanese company has recently released an umbrella that is backwards to any umbrella you’ve seen before…literally.
It’s raining in Yokohama right now. I’m about to go pick up lunch, though, which means that when I head out the door I’ll need to take my umbrella, which is a cheap collapsible model I bought for 500 yen (US$4.60).
But should I decide to upgrade, a team of engineers in China is developing an umbrella that shields you from the rain not with a sheet of flimsy nylon, but with blasts of air, in the form of the aptly named Air Umbrella.
Kanji is the biggest pain in the behind when it comes to learning Japanese. Sure, the grammar structure is a challenge and figuring out how and when to use the honorific form is a headache-inducing task, but deciphering those little scribbles scrawled across the nation of Japan is downright upsetting for new students of the Japanese language. Sometimes, you get lucky and the kanji characters sort of look like their meaning if you squint and turn your head to the left.
山 : Ok, we can see how that looks like a mountain.
目 : One of those squinty-left-tilty kanji, but sure, it looks like an eye.
凹 : Yup, that’s definitely concave (and a kanji that always makes us chuckle).
But most of the other two thousand or so kanji in daily use require learners to have a lot more imagination if you really want to find a meaningful picture amongst the numerous strokes. For many of them, a related image is just not going to happen (we’re looking at you 鬱). However, to our surprise, one Twitter user just recently uploaded a photo that makes the somewhat strange character for umbrella (傘) a little easier to understand.
People from other countries may be surprised by the number of people using umbrellas on a sunny day in Japan. However, after experiencing the scorching summers in many urban centers across the land, it’s not surprising why so many carry their own shade.
Of course there’s the obvious UV protection reasons where people wish to avoid melanoma and maintain that deathly pale complexion that’s all the rage here. There’s also the simpler reason that the sun can be freaking intense during the dog days and shade is a rare commodity on city streets.
In fact it can be so powerful that even with your standard parasol, daylight can manage to creep in and threaten your well-being. That’s why someone developed the next level in umbrella technology with Rain or Shine Umbrella for Use at the Game. With a name that catchy, you know it’s gonna be good!
A couple of years ago, a friend of mine gave me an umbrella with a handle that looks like the hilt of a katana. It’s actually really well-made, while I’ve never had to use the crosspiece to protect my hand from rival swordsmen’s strikes, it does provide a nice bit of extra grip during typhoons and lesser storms with gale-force winds.
There is one problem, though. When it’s closed up, and all you can see is the handle, it looks a little too much like a samurai blade, and I feel a little self-conscious carrying it in public. So maybe it’s time I switched to something a no less unique but a whole lot more innocuous: like an umbrella shaped like a giant Welsh onion.
A white Christmas in Osaka is a rare thing and this year was no exception. All week has been back-to-back rainy days – par for the course in this neck of the world. If you happen to live in a similar climate, then these cold and damp days might have you feeling a little bummed out.
To help turn your mood around is a cute little invention by Ugoita. This umbrella has sensors attached that convert the impact of raindrops into tones. However, that’s just one of many unique electronic creations that worked.
Particularly during the autumn typhoon season but even through all types of weather, Japanese people like to keep an umbrella at hand to protect from the elements. Surprisingly, since ancient times when it was developed, the umbrella has seen little in the way of substantial improvements. Sure there have been upgrades in collapsibility and wind-resistance features, but the general structure of a parasol and all the arguable flaws inherent with it remain. This is where Japanese company h-concept steps in and hopes you buy their Unbrella which aims to rectify everything wrong with the traditional umbrella. For the hefty price tag of 9,450 yen (US$95) they seem confident it’s got what it takes to do it.
Japan is a country that loves their umbrellas. Rain or shine, lolita or businessman, everyone enjoys the security of a swath of plastic or cloth above their precious head. However, this time of year poses a particular problem for parasol lovers, when mother nature flings typhoons at East Asia like so many spitballs at a blackboard of the Pacific Rim.
The result for most pedestrians is a nasty combination of heavy wind and rain where one wrong turn of the corner can instantly result in your umbrella becoming the world’s largest and most depressing shuttlecock.
Foreigners visiting Japan for the first time might be taken aback by how widespread the use of umbrellas is. Sure, during rain storms umbrellas make sense, but even during pleasantly sunny days you’re likely to see enough women putting up parasols to make you think the Bauhaus were in town.
Even this is understandable as “the Land of the Rising Sun” is not just another pretty name. In the middle of summer the often cloudless skies leave us at the mercy of the sun’s unrelenting rays. Combined with a lack of trees in many urban areas there’s simply no escape. And with pale skin traditionally considered to be a sign of beauty and elegance, it’s no wonder so many women still carry a parasol, but it would seem that the heat is getting so bad these days that men, too, are bit by bit turning to a once exclusively feminine accessory for relief and protection.
What better way to brighten up a rainy day than with a cute girl shielding you from the downpour? And if you can’t find a girl to hold your umbrella, then maybe a girl on your umbrella is the next best thing…
A common image of the Japanese city is a concrete jungle of towering skyscrapers, tinting the night sky with the vibrant light from countless neon signs. But while you definitely can find those urban landscapes in downtown districts like Tokyo’s Shinjuku and Osaka’s Namba, take a short train ride into the suburbs and things can be very different.
My own apartment is in the most populous ward of Japan’s second biggest city, but one block away from the shopping arcade there are no sidewalks to be found, and street lights are few and far between. Add in a storm that cuts down visibility even more, and a walk home from the station can be a little unnerving.
Thankfully, PC and cell phone peripheral manufacturer Century has a solution for both problems with their light-up umbrella.
Most people prefer to open their curtains in the morning to find bright, clear skies waiting for them, but with the arrival of the rainy season (known as 梅雨 tsuyu, and written with the characters for “plum” and “rain”) here in Japan we‘ve got a long stretch of wet weather ahead. If that has you down, perhaps channeling your inner superhero when you wake up in the morning and stepping out with this ninja sword umbrella will brighten your day. And if fantasizing about slashing enemy combatants isn’t your thing, maybe the romaine lettuce-inspired Vegetabrella from Tokyo Noble is what you need to put a smile on your face.
Take a look at these five rainy day inspirations helping ensure Japan stays dry during drizzling days of June.
With all the temperature and humidity regulators at work on a commercial aircraft, it’s not uncommon for a little condensation and leakage to happen from time to time.
The dripping itself isn’t a big deal but when you’re strapped in a chair next to a sleeping 300-lb man, the annoyance factor gets amplified. As captured in this photo aboard a Cathay Pacific flight, one man decided to deal with it by pulling out his trusty umbrella.
However, surprisingly, the act of opening a parasol mid-flight is a violation of Hong Kong aviation regulations and could land this man in prison.
On rainy days, especially in Asia, a dozen or so umbrellas can be seen sitting outside of stores and other buildings. For thieves or people with momentary rain-soaked lapses in conscience it the perfect chance to get a free bumbershoot.
To combat this we have the Lizard Umbrella – a 2012 Red Dot Design Award-winning concept by inventors Kim Seokhui, Kim Seongjin and Kim Dasol.
If you’ve ever seen footage of the Japanese Empress Michiko holding an umbrella over her shoulder on a rainy day, you might find yourself in awe of how gracefully she pulls it off. If it were me you would see my arm struggling back and forth with the wind as my face grimaced in annoyance.
The fact is that even though it looks like they are holding simple plastic parasols. The Imperial House as well as politicians in Japan use specially made umbrellas from a maker with nearly 300 years of experience.
And now you can too, but it’ll cost ya.
The staff of an umbrella shop in Tokyo recently must have their work cut out for them these days as they explain to confused customers why boxes of lettuce are sitting in their displays. The answer, of course, is Vegetabrella; a fusion of two completely ordinary yet completely unrelated objects, an umbrella and a head of lettuce.
Since March 8, you may have been seeing umbrellas around Tokyo printed with graphics for a new Xbox 360 and PS3 mahjong game.