By Billy Hammond (Copyright AELS)

December 20, 2020

The shared umbrella theme is quite popular in Japanese dramas linking lovers. I think that it’s rather unique to Japanese culture and quite cute.

One of my students wrote about his first experience with the shared umbrella phenomenon in an autobiography he was writing for my class. It was after the end of WWII and he had been shifted from his all-male junior high to a co-ed school. One day, it was raining and a girl from his class invited her to share her umbrella on his way home. He mentioned his excitement and joy at sharing such a close space with a girl! The experience left such an impression on him that he still remembers it to this day!

My first experience with a shared umbrella came soon after I came to Japan. I’d been assigned to teach an on-site lesson at a company in Sakai City. It was pouring down rain and I didn’t have an umbrella (Americans aren’t used to umbrellas and I didn’t buy one until I’d been here almost a month). A worker from the company I was assigned to teach at came to get me at the train station and guide me to her company. It was poring down rain and she and I shared her umbrella to her company. As it turned out, she was the only student I was to teach there since she was in charge of handling the English work at her company. The time we spent under the shared space of her umbrella on the 20-minute walk to her company still remains vivid in my memory some forty years later! The Japanese “shared umbrella” phenomenon is quite real.

相合傘

『相合傘』テーマは日本のテレビ恋愛ドラマにはよく出てくる。日本文化の独特なものだと思うが、本当に可愛い現象だ。

私の生徒は自叙伝宿題で彼の相合傘の経験を語った。戦後直後に彼の男子中学校が近くの女子中学校と合併した。ある土砂降りの日、彼が傘を忘れたため、学校の玄関前に立っていたそうだ。同じクラスの女子生徒が彼に気が付き、一緒に彼女の傘で帰るように誘った。彼がその刺激や興奮について書いた。あれだけ女の子の近くに長時間いたのは初めてだったそうだ。かなりの印象だったので今だに覚えている!

自分の初めての相合傘経験は来日間もなくにあった。勤めていた英会話学校から堺市にあった会社の出張レッスンの時だった。駅に着いたら土砂降りだった。私は当時傘を持っていなかった(アメリカ人は傘をさす習慣がないので来阪の1ヶ月後まで買わなかった)。駅で待っていたら、会社の女子社員が迎えに来た。たたきつけるような土砂降りの雨で二人が彼女の傘の下の狭いスペースで会社に向かった。会社に着いてから彼女は私の個人生徒だと分かったので更に驚いた。そのおおよそ20分間の相合傘の時間は約40年後も経った今でもはっきり記憶に残っている!日本の相合傘現象は本物だ!!

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English novels by Billy Hammond published by AELS

(AELS出版英語書籍リスト)

 

I. Majoh Gakuin and Hikari Juku – Japanese Witch Schools Trilogy

1. Majoh Gakuin & Hikari Juku – Japanese Witch Schools

2. Lost Witch (The second book)

3. Fate & Magic (The final book in the trilogy)

II. Brindle – Scryer Extraordinaire Trilogy

1. Brindle – Scryer Extraordinaire

2. Brindle – Scryer Extraordinaire – Returns

3. Brindle – Scryer Extraordinaire – Challenges (The final book in the trilogy)

III. Fantasy fiction set in Japan

1. 21st Century Ninja

2. Regressed

3. Japanese Woman

IV. Fantasy fiction set outside of Japan

1. Dimension Jumpers

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