One of the reasons that I really like writing about Japan is that there is a steady flow of awesome design concepts from here that few other countries can match. Some of them are incredibly simple and elegant, and My 1st Umbrella is a perfect example of this.
Umbrellas can be terribly and pokey dangerous items, especially for kids, and parents might be concerns about children getting sharp parts in their eye, or jamming their fingers in the moving components. So one clever Japanese entrepreneur has come up with an absolutely brilliant solution. Her inflatable umbrellas are great for young children, as they are light, easy to carry, and most of all, entirely safe. It looks almost like a bath toy, in fact.
Another clear advantage is portability. One umbrella can be deflated in about ten seconds, quickly folded up and put into a bag or purse.
Interestingly the creator of the product, Hiroko Yoshida, used to be a housewife, and is now the CEO of My1st. So far her umbrella has been featured on Japanese TV and on the popular publication Nikkei Trendy.
If you would like to pick one up for your own little one, My 1st Umbrella is available atvarious retailers around Japan.