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A common image of the Japanese city is a concrete jungle of towering skyscrapers, tinting the night sky with the vibrant light from countless neon signs. But while you definitely can find those urban landscapes in downtown districts like Tokyo’s Shinjuku and Osaka’s Namba, take a short train ride into the suburbs and things can be very different.

My own apartment is in the most populous ward of Japan’s second biggest city, but one block away from the shopping arcade there are no sidewalks to be found, and street lights are few and far between. Add in a storm that cuts down visibility even more, and a walk home from the station can be a little unnerving.

Thankfully, PC and cell phone peripheral manufacturer Century has a solution for both problems with their light-up umbrella.

The company’s umbrella, called bright night (spelled in all lowercase letters, lest you forget it’s from a company that also makes tech gear) is equipped with a krypton light bulb at the top end of its shaft. The bulb creates a circle of light with a diameter of 180 centimeters (71 inches), which the manufacturer claims is visible from up to 30 meters (98 feet) away. The light is powered by four AA batteries, and is turned on or off using a switch located on the umbrella’s handle.

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A Century spokesperson described the situations where such an umbrella might come in handy. Aside from making the user more visible to passing traffic, the light also allows the umbrella’s holder to more easily spot slippery patches of pooled water, as well as potholes, curbs, and other stumbling hazards. “It’s also handy when you’re looking through your bag for you house or car keys, or if you need some extra light to line it up properly in the keyhole,” he explained.

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Judging from the colorful fabric patterns, one of Century’s target markets is fashionable women. Aside from a wrist strap on the handle, the bright night comes with a carrying case that has its own shoulder strap.

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Snazzy design and technological features aside, an umbrella isn’t much good if it doesn’t protect you from the rain. The bright night is more than up to the task, though, with a frame constructed of high-impact grade polycarbonate to withstand strong winds, plus a specially coated water-resistant fabric to keep things dry underneath.

Century also boats that the polycarbonate frame is flame resistant, but if you find that fires often break out as you’re walking through torrential downpours, you’ve slipped into some alternate dimension where ordinary rules of physics don’t apply. Avoiding being eaten by monsters and finding the magical portal that leads back to our world should be your top priorities, with keeping the rain off of yourself a distant third.

For everyone still on this plane of existence, all six versions of the bright night (including the kids’ size) are available for 3,980 yen (US$40) through online retailer Shirobako.

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Source: Narinari
Images: Kaden Watch