Where to wield an umbrella
James Smith & Sons in London's West End is worth visiting, even if you don't need a new umbrella. Founded in 1830, the shop takes pride in its old -world, Victorian - London appearance and sells intricately car ved umbrellas in myriad shapes, sizes and colours (james-smith.co.uk). In July, join Behdienkhlam, held in the Indian state of Meghalaya. The festival celebrates the arrival of the monsoon and prays for a good har vest. Hordes of revellers wielding colourful umbrellas muster on hillsides to dance to pipes and have a tug- of-war with a tree trunk. The traditional umbrella dance of Japan is called Higasa Odori. Created in the 19th centur y, it sprang from Kabuki theatre and its original purpose was to entertain visiting Chinese ambassadors. Go and see it today at Tokyo’s Shinbashi Enbujo theatre (shinbashi- enbujo.co.jp).