I trudged along the side of the road through a heavy downpour just outside Tokushima, the collar of my wool overcoat turned up to meet my longshoreman’s cap. Drenched. Cascading water from my shoulders and pack. A small white car pulled to the side of the road just in front of me. The driver’s window rolled down a few inches. (Right side, dear reader. We’re in Japan.) A hand thrust a rolled-up collapsible umbrella toward me. Startled, I took the umbrella. The hand withdrew. The window rolled up. The car drove off.
I opened the umbrella and trudged along.