Japanese men drop inhibition, turn to parasols to beat the heat
News On Japan via Reuters -- Jul 28
It's summer in Japan, which means shaved ice, cold noodles and parasols against the blinding sun - for men.
While women have used sun umbrellas, or "higasa," for centuries, power conservation and increasingly hot summers have sent sales of men's sun umbrellas sharply higher, with department stores across Japan scrambling for stocks.
"There's been a spike in demand for men's sun umbrellas of about three times since last summer," said Mayumi Mio, a spokeswoman at Takashimaya, a major Tokyo department store.
"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."
White, natural skin has long been thought beautiful for Asian women, and Japanese men have also become increasingly skin-conscious in recent years. But the real jump in sales came last summer, after power cuts in the wake of the March 11 disaster prompted new ways to beat the heat.
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