Mr. Sato scores a nice hat trick.

Like in many parts of the world, this summer has been especially relentless in Japan, with only the occasional ten-minute violent thunderstorm to break things up. Normally, our reporter Mr. Sato feels a little wistful when summer comes to an end, but this year he can’t wait for the pain to stop.

But he isn’t the type to sit around and wait for a solution to his problems. Much like his colleague Masanuki Sunakoma, who developed a hands-free umbrella, Mr. Sato wanted a heat-relief method that would still allow him to maintain his quality of life, which included walking around with a crepe in one hand and a mobile phone in the other.

And much like with Masanuki, it was the Internet that provided inspiration in the form of a sandogasa. These are the large straw hats often seen in Japan on the heads of farm workers or religious pilgrims trekking through the mountains. Mr. Sato heard the recommendation from a head priest who goes by the handle Semimaru P on that thing we still have to call both Twitter and X until we can know for sure.

Our reporter ordered a 46-centimeter (18-inch) sandogasa from rattan goods manufacturer Manyo for 2,260 yen (US$16).

These types of hats have a part inside called a gotoku which ensures the hat only touches a small part of your head to maximize breathability. There is a string tied to it which secures it to your head.

Later that day, a hot wind swept across the barren landscape…

And a lone man walked along, his footsteps heavy and world-weary…

As he moved, his fingers reflexively ran along the satchel at his side…

This trail was famous for cut-throat bandits and the occasional wraith…

But this man was ready. Years lined with a path of shed blood and tears had prepared him…

He spotted another figure on the trail and a muscle in the back of his neck spasmed ever so slightly. His hands hung at the ready…

He then stopped abruptly and stared down this person, not knowing if they be friend or foe…

Mr. Sato: “Hot enough for ya?”

To put it simply, Mr. Sato thought the sandogasa was fantastic! The size was comparable to a parasol, but his hands were completely free to do whatever they wanted. It was like having a little bit of shade follow him wherever he went.

It was especially nice at keeping the blazing sun off the back of his neck. It always the worst feeling to have that constant heat drill itself in his skin just above the shirt collar.

And the best part of all was the gap between the top of his head and the hat. He could feel a gentle breeze float through and it never got stuffy up there.

Yes, the sandogasa was far better than he expected, but our writers’ fashion reviews are never complete until they go to their special place.

It first involved taking the crosswalk outside of the Shinjuku 3-Chome police box…

And then going straight down Yasukuni Street toward Shinjuku Station.

Then he walked into the same Starbucks that he had while wearing a cardboard suit, cardboard box, T-shirt dress, neck pants, crotch accentuating pants, pollen-blocking hazmat suit, Zozosuit, and tactical camo. 

However, he hadn’t tried out any new fashions in a while and as such hasn’t been to Starbucks in quite a long time. Wanting something cold, he tried a Peach Frappuccino.

Mr. Sato: “Oh! What’s this?”

Mr. Sato: “A paper straw?! Wild!”

Yes, the organic paper straw complemented his organic straw hat for a truly serene scene.

But just then, tragedy struck…

Mr. Sato: “My straw jammed!”

Some chunks of peach had got lodged in the straw making it difficult for him to enjoy his drink. He would have to do something. He would have to do the very thing that his haters accused him of. He would have to suck.

After a harrowing ordeal, he managed to finish his drink and return to the office. There he also discovered that the sandogasa could be worn over his backpack while not in use. It made him feel like a solemn pilgrim, visiting the 88 temples of Shikoku.

But these hats aren’t all Frappuccino and skittles. They had their flaws as well, such as how the  gotoku left an imprint on Mr. Sato’s forehead. Still, a headband or handkerchief wrapped around his forehead ought to be able to help there.

The other problem is that they aren’t terribly flexible at adjusting to different head sizes. While this one fit comfortably over Mr. Sato’s slender head, it didn’t fare nearly as well on his boss Yoshio’s girthier cranium.

Still, it provided a great deal of heat relief for Mr. Sato, and conveniently too. If you too want some relief and don’t mind the occasional odd stare, be sure to try out a sandogasa.

But it might be better to try it on before you buy.

Photos © SoraNews24
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