Each of Japan’s seasons has its own unique charm. Whether it’s the cherry blossoms of spring, fireworks on the beach in midsummer, crimson maple leaves in the fall, or a hot spring surrounded by winter snow, there’s something to enjoy at almost any point of the calendar.

The glaring exception, though, is the few weeks of rainy season during June, when the constant threat of sudden squalls make the weather report about as reliable as a third-rate palm reader. You’re pretty much guaranteed of getting caught in a shower at some point, and if you’re not lucky enough to be around a 100 yen shop at the time, you’re stuck ducking into a convenience store and paying a premium for a clear plastic umbrella you’ll probably throw away as soon as you get home and can swap it for your sturdier regular one.

Thankfully, convenience store chain Family Mart has a new product to take some of the sting out of that situation.

Family Mart is now offering a series of umbrellas decorated with illustrations of vocaloid virtual idol Hatsune Miku. The latest of several collaborations between Family Mart and Miku, the images for the three 60 cm (24 inch) plastic umbrellas were created by popular artists Petit Devil, 4 a.m., and Himemo Sakamoto.

▼ The cute Petit Devil version

▼ The high-contrast 4 a.m. umbrella

▼ And the stylized Himemo Sakamoto edition

Although on the surface this may seem like little more than a cash grab to separate hard core Miku fans and their money, Family Mart hopes the tie-up will encourage customers to hang on to the umbrellas for as long as they can be used, reducing the amount of waste caused by people frequently tossing their plastic umbrellas after a single use. The convenience store chain has been selling stylish plastic umbrellas designed by fashion brand earth music&ecology Japan Label, and previously offered Hatsune Miku umbrellas in 2011 as well.

The new batch of spring-loaded Miku umbrellas sell for 980 yen (US$10.10), and can also be purchased through Family Mart’s website. Unfortunately, they’re only available in limited quantities, so you’ll have to act fast if you want to collect the whole set. Three umbrellas may seem like overkill, but remember, nothing keeps you dry like one in each hand, plus another tucked down the back of your shirt.

Source: N Lab
Top image: Switch Box
Insert images: Get News
Related: Family Mart website