Remember to always use protection (from the rain).

Japan has an extremely convenient and efficient rail network, but in practice going out for the day involves not just riding, but plenty of walking. A 10-minute walk from your home to the nearest station is considered average, and after you get off the train, you’ve still got to hoof it to your final destination.

This makes rainy days a pain in the butt. Using public transportation means having carry a bag with whatever you need for the day, and if you’re also trying to use a map app on your smartphone to navigate Japan’s confusingly unnamed street system, you might end up without a free hand to hold an umbrella and keep the rain off yourself.

The solution, according to online retailer Dospara, is to get an umbrella you don’t need to hold. This week, the company began offering what it calls the Teburagasa, which translates to Hands-Free Umbrella.

The Hands-Free Umbrella is sort of like a raincoat, at least from the chin up. There’s a plastic hood with an opening for your face that you slip over your head, but once you’re under the jawline, things start to get unique. There’s actually no material covering your body. Instead, a wide brim, 76.5 centimeters (30.1 inches) in diameter, sits on your shoulders, blocking the falling rain and causing it to slide off away from you. This gives you a circle of dryness that not only keeps your clothes from getting wet, but also gives you enough space to use your phone or get things out of your bag.

These are all purposeful objectives of the Hands-Free Umbrella’s design, and it looks like it really does achieve all of them, all while being less prone to uncomfortable stuffiness like a full raincoat. However, there’s also one, unadvertised thing it does, and that’s look like a giant condom.

▼ Is it just our imagination, or does that rain look kind of…milky?

By the way, the Hands-Free Umbrella can also be folded down into a more compact size to make it easier to carry or store. After folding, it’s less than half its normal size, but still retains at least 75 percent of its condom resemblance.

Of course, you can deflect any jeers by reminding people that while both condoms and the Hands-Free Umbrella are designed to block liquids, the thing you have strapped to your skull is to keep it from getting in, not spurting out.

Dospara is asking just 500 yen (US$4.40) for the product, and is even offering free shipping. Orders can be placed here as long as you’re not concerned about leaving yourself wide open to being called “dickhead” every time it rains.

Source: Dospara via Livedoor News/Biglobe News via Hachima Kiko
Images: Dospara

Follow Casey on Twitter, where he still refers to the free plastic umbrella covers Japanese stores provide as “umbrella condoms.”