Celebrate Travel: Meet New Friends in the Rain

 In Holidays, Japan

Every day people around the world are celebrating something. It could be a birthday, an anniversary, a major holiday, or festival. There are also the little things you never heard of that some deem necessary to celebrate. For instance, did you know that March is National Umbrella Month?

I’ve teamed up with The Mother of All Trips and Wandermom to shine a tiny spotlight on these unsung heroes of the festival world in a new series called Celebrate Travel. Each month one of us will host the celebration so you can get to know a few of the world’s more obscure holidays. We’ve asked a few friends to join in with their own tales that make each month special, and of course we are going to kick off this new series with an ode to all things weather in honor of the mighty umbrella.

Sit back and enjoy the ride as I reflect on one of my favorite rain induced moments on the road. Then pop to the bottom and let me know about your own weather adventures in the comments. You have to have one. Weather effects all of us you know.


Rain is not my favorite kind of weather. I’m more of a sunny day with a light breeze kind of girl. I live in a constant cloud most of the year here in Seattle, and have had soggy feet more often than I care to remember. Umbrellas are a regular part of my wardrobe, even if I don’t bother to open them half of the time. In my opinion even snow is better than rain, but then again we hardly ever get snow here. As much as I hate the rain one of my fondest travel memories occurred during a rain shower in Kyoto, Japan.

Not so long ago, when we were only a family of 3, Mike and I took Dek to Kyoto to see the sights. I was on my way home from a business trip to China with Dek (yes, I brought a 20 month old to China by myself), and we decided we might as well do a stop over in Japan and have Mike meet up with us. Japan had been on our travel wish list for years; this just seemed like the perfect time to go.

While wandering the streets one afternoon in Gion we ended up at the Higashi Otani Mausoleum. It had been raining off and on most of the day, but we had avoided it so far. As we rounded a corner and found a large, terraced cemetery the heavens opened wide and started to pour buckets on us. We rain to an archway to gain a little shelter. Naturally Dek was more interested in the forming puddles than staying dry.


After a few minutes a friendly Danish traveler appeared down the lane and bee lined it for our shelter. He had no umbrella; we made room for another body in our little archway. The usual small talk started up; where had we been, what were we doing in Japan, how long would we be staying, etc. Dek ignored the adults and decided that he was going to climb the steps in the cemetery we had been keeping him from no matter how wet he would get. Our Danish friend decided to help.

Hand in hand my little man and his new friend climbed those cemetery steps and conquered them. It was a wonderful moment in travel. Here was a man we had never met, but felt compelled to help our son meet a challenge head on, even though it meant he would get wet. We as the parents had held back our son for our own comfort, but a total stranger was willing to step in and play “uncle.”

Soon the rain stopped and Dek’s adopted uncle said his farewells and continued on his own adventure. We never did see him again, but I hope he knows he made a difference to one very happy little boy and his parents during a rainy day in Japan. We continued our own adventures across the city, never seeing rain again, but thankful for the encounter the weather had brought into our trip.


How has the weather influenced your travels lately? 

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Showing 15 comments
  • Mara

    It totally is the little things like this that I love about traveling with kids – and it’s why when I’m on my own I always try to reach out to people with children – I’m just paying it back for all the people who’ve done the same for me over the years.

  • Lisa

    This is one of my favourite stories from your travels! It speaks to the goodness in most people when they meet traveling kids – quite contrary to some of the nasty commentary that springs up on the internet. I completely agree with Mara – those of us with older kids can now start paying it back for all the kindness that our kids have received at the hands of strangers over the years.

  • Allison

    Stories like this renew my faith in the human race.

  • Laurel- Capturing la Vita

    What a sweet story! I was recently in Florence for a week and it rained almost the entire time. An umbrella was all I needed. The rain make for great photography, it makes all those dull colors just pop out. The best place we went on our cold and rainy days? The hot springs!

  • What a sweet story. Kids are the best icebreakers huh?

  • Kate @30Traveler

    It’s a cool idea to do posts for national umbrella month. I tried to think of an umbrella related travel story and failed! I should be able to contribute to the bike month posts though.

  • Colleen Lanin

    I love this story! Encounters with other people met during our travels are always among our favorites.

  • lola

    having traveled places recently that i expected to be warm but wasn’t – well…i’m ready for only guaranteed warm weather. i feel a bit cheated by the cold & clouds.

  • Charli l Wanderlusters

    I aspire to travel with children one day. Tales like this give me the confidence to know I can realise this dream. I love how this encounter wrote itself into your day. Sometimes rain clouds have a silver lining!

  • Anita Mac

    Great story! Love that your son didn’t let the rain get him down. Funny how, as adults, we let those things get in our way. We can always learn from little kids – they have not got the same inhibitions! Very cool that the stranger was so happy to help out – even in the rain. He let his inner child shine! Love it.

  • Sally@Toddlers on Tour

    I remember the days of backpacking, when you were locked out of the hostel until 5pm. Not good on rainy days. We would spend hours in cafe` taking it in turns to order a coffee so we could just sit there.

    Today with kids this is not a possibility. If we are walking about a town find the shopping mall and do some window shopping in the toy department. If we’re at the resort this is when it’s a must to ensure you have a hotel with a kids club. Hours in a hotel room is a nightmare with an active pre-schooler.

  • wandering educators

    love those photos!! and what fun. i LOVE exploring in the rain – it’s like a whole different world!

  • Jenna

    What a cool place and a cute story. 🙂

  • Monica

    We have mostly snow this time of year so the rain is refreshing to see. Thanks for sharing at Family Fun Friday!

  • Amelia

    What a great story. I think sometimes we forget how fun it is to just be a kid again. While we were in Disneyworld a few years ago our grandchildren showed us how fun rain could be. An afternoon storm came up and as we ran for cover all the little ones just danced in the parking lot. Soon we all joined in and had a great time. And you know what not one of us “melted” in the rain! Thanks for the reminder of those memories.

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