The fact is the majority of people do not pay much attention to the objects that surround them. Such ordinary things as pieces of furniture, dress, and dishes have become ingrained in our everyday lives and are perceived as something trivial. At the same time, practically everything of a daily routine may say a lot about its owner, his habits, his lifestyle, his education, and so on.
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One of the brightest examples of such a thing is an umbrella. The majority of us perceive it as an element of rain protection. At the same time, many people carry umbrellas regardless of weather conditions, just because this thing has become an integrated part of their image.
In the history of humanity, there are such inventions that, despite the development of technologies practically have not undergone a change. Though over the course of history mechanisms and shapes of umbrellas have been changing, the general principle of its functioning remains the same.
Nowadays scientists dispute the fact of the invention of an umbrella. The major part of them are apt to think that an umbrella has been invented in China. According to the Chinese legend, the idea of its creation was inspired by children who had been using leaves of lotus to protect themselves from sun. (“Kaleidoscope. Science and Invention.” para1). An umbrella in ancient China was not only the item of sun protection, but it was also a symbol of a high rank and nobility of its owner.
There also exists an opinion that an umbrella was invented in Africa over 3500 years ago (“Interesting Umbrella Facts.” para.2). Apart from their direct functions, umbrellas were also used in religious ceremonies.
The attitude towards this ordinary thing varies in different cultures. For some nations, it is the unnecessary item, which can be easily replaced with a water coat or a special dress. For others it is the article of daily necessity. For instance in Japan there is hardly a person who does not have an umbrella. In addition, “Japan is extremely different from America when it comes to umbrellas”. (“Japanese Umbrella Culture.”para.2).
In Japan practically in every establishment, there is a special rack for umbrellas. Moreover many of them are equipped with a special lock in order an umbrella no to be stolen.
At the same time, it must be admitted that umbrellas are not always used as the protective device from rain or sun. Many people use it in order to emphasize their high status or image. There are many cases when this device is used other than as intended. Sometimes it is used as a walking stick, sometimes as an item for self-defense (“12 Amazing Ways to Use an Umbrella.” para.4).
Producers of umbrellas try to meet the demands of customers. There is a link between a national culture and a market orientation (Luczak, Cheryl, et al. para.54). So nowadays umbrellas of different types and shapes may be found.
In our research, we have interviewed people of different age and gender. They were asked the following questions:
- Do you have an umbrella?
- How often do you use it?
- Do you use it only when it rains?
- Describe the type of the umbrella you have.
In the research, it has been found out that aged people as usual have umbrellas of dark colors. The younger generation prefers bright colors and more original models (for instance in a form of a sword or with a special pouch). Two women confessed that in their choice of umbrellas they had not paid much attention to its application in practice. They wanted their umbrellas to suit their dresses. So it is possible to conclude that an umbrella reflects a persons character.
“12 Amazing Ways to Use an Umbrella.” Life Hackery. n.d. Web.
“Interesting Umbrella Facts.” Umbrella History. n.d. Web.
“Japanese Umbrella Culture.” The Japan Guy. n.d. Web.
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“Kaleidoscope. Science and Invention.” Cultural China. n.d. Web.
Luczak, Cheryl, et al. “National Culture, Market Orientation and Network-Derived Benefits: Conceptual Model for Service SMEs.” Academy of Entrepreneurship Journal 16.2 (2010): n.pag. Web.