The great debate of 2014: Umbrellas in a snowstorm

Opinions Tokyo Life - February 14th, 2014
umbrellas-in-the-snow

There are plenty of things to remember to do “right” as a foreigner in Japan:

Taking our shoes off when we come inside? OK, but we cheat sometimes if we remember something on our way out. Not covering our rice with soy sauce? Done; got it (it doesn’t taste very good that way, anyway). Using an umbrella when it’s snowing? Hmm . . .

Snowstorms in Tokyo aren’t very common, so we have a tendency to forget that using an umbrella when it snows is a thing that happens when it snows here. (The degree of difficulty is often increased by holding the umbrella in one hand, while riding a bicycle through said snow, but that’s another story.)

Now, walking in from the snow and looking like some yeti that wandered in off the Himalayas until you melt off isn’t always the most fun, but by our reckoning, we’ve always gone by the following rules of thumb:

Rain: We’re using an umbrella.

Sleet: That umbrella is still firmly in hand.

Snow: The umbrella is sitting at home and we’re wandering in the winter wonderland.

We’re not ones to be chauvinistic, we can’t help but feel that using an umbrella in a snowstorm seems to be defeating the purpose—if you can say that a snowstorm has a purpose. Thankfully, we don’t have to get worked up about it often, considering how infrequently snow falls in Tokyo. And yetis tend to have pretty short memories anyway…

–The Weekender Curmudgeon

How about you? Does using umbrella in the snow make sense to you, or did you always do it back home—whether home was Ireland or Aomori? We’d like to hear your take.