A beautiful sunny morning at Hida no Sato, spent with my friend Shinobu. Just a ten-minute bus ride from Takayama station, Hida no Sato is a traditional old-style Japanese village - all the houses were moved there from an area that was to be flooded by a dam. I loved the contrast between the bright sunshine and the dark houses. And no, I could not bring my parasol home with me. It was there for people to enjoy while they walk around the village.
And I would have loved to bring home my 400-yen (less than €4) umbrella, but it wouldn't fit in my suitcase. I LOVE Japanese convenience store umbrellas, particularly the transparent plastic type - they are sturdy, have a good handle, open at the press of a button, they can withstand a storm, and you can see where you're going at the same time, particularly useful in crowd situations. Why can't we get good umbrellas like that in Ireland? PS: I saw a worrying trend in Japan, though: it seems that the transparent umbrellas are being replaced by black or white - probably much more ecologically friendly, using a light fabric rather than plastic. Wouldn't it be fantastic if they could make a transparent fabric, though?