I don't know how we've missed this beat the heat solution in our recent coverage, but somehow we did. But Japanese men, apparently, increasingly haven't.
Reuters reports that Japanese men have embraced the parasol to efforts to stay cool, collected, and not sweaty—the result of power conservation efforts post-Fukushima, hotter-than-usual summers, and sheer practicality.
Mayumi Mio of the Takashimaya department store chain:
There's been a spike in demand for men's sun umbrellas of about about three times since last summer. Most of them buy it for business when they have to step outside of the office to go to a meeting. They feel that it's rude to show up to work or a meeting all sweaty and worn out from the heat.
And, Kazuhiro Miyatake, a fourth-generation umbrella store owner, from Osaka:
I believe if there was a sun umbrella god, I'm positive it wouldn't discriminate between men and women. If men want to use sun umbrellas, they should be able to without shame.
Or, less subtly, men, let's suck it up and consider sun umbrellas. We're overlooking a great way of keeping the sun off our heads—and one that doesn't just keep our sweaty heads hidden from view like wearing a hat, but rather helps prevent sweat head by creating portable shade.
Unfortunately, as I know from experience trying to help a friend find a parasol that is suitable man-ish on a number of occasions but as of yet no joy, the manly sun umbrella is as rare as hens' teeth in the US. But there's no reason that has to be. And solid rain umbrellas work just as well for the time being.
If we're all perfectly willing to sit under the shade of an umbrella at the beach, why is carrying around one with us to block the sun any different?
For those historically inclined but with short attention spans or time, Wikipedia has a fascinating history of the umbrella.