Why do British people not like using umbrellas?
Rainy season is due to hit Japan any moment now, so I am reminded of a question I am often asked by my confused co-workers and students: “Why don’t you have an umbrella????”.
The answer is simple. I am British, and British people hate umbrellas. Or “brollies”, as we like to call them.
But why? The United Kingdom famously gets rain showers very regularly all year round, often unexpectedly – so why are we so happy to get wet? This is what I think:
1. The climate in the UK means that most rain showers are much lighter than the kind of heavy and humid rain you experience in Japan. They usually don`t last as long too, so even if you get wet, you can usually dry off quite quickly.
2. Rain is very unpredictable in the UK. It can suddenly start raining on any day of the year, regardless of what the weather forecast says. It can also suddenly stop raining, or not rain at all. Rather than go to the effort of bringing a brolly we don’t end up needing, we would usually prefer to just take the risk and leave it at home.
3. Umbrellas are not sold in most shops! Unlike Japan, convenience stores in the UK very rarely sell umbrellas and we would usually have to go to a special outdoor clothing store or a specialist accessories store to get one. Because of this, they are usually not cheap!
4. London, in particular, is a very busy city with a lot of pedestrian traffic, and a hectic rush hour on the Tube. British people tend to want to avoid causing anyone else inconvenience, so we don’t want to get in anyone’s way while carrying a massive umbrella.
5. British people are known for having a “stiff upper lip”, which means not letting small problems bother you and just pushing through it.
Myself, and many others, find that the inconvenience of carrying an umbrella is greater than the issue of maybe getting a little wet. This has always stayed with me, and even during Japan’s heavy rainy season, I rarely want to carry an umbrella!
Or, to cut a long story short – it’s easier to just put your hood up, and we are too lazy to carry an umbrella 😉