In western countries we love exposing ourselves to the Sun. If you’re suntanned you’re beautiful. Hordes of people each summer fry themselves at the beach to be able to show at their workplace that they’ve spend their holidays in active way. We associate suntan with being fit, and being fit – with beauty.
In China canon of beauty is quite opposite. The more ‘white’ your skin is, the more beautiful you are. Women not only desperately avoid the sun, but also try to whiten themselves. Most of the cosmetics (creams, shower gels, soaps etc.) have whitening complex (willing or not, you also end up whitening yourself while living in China). You will never find a bronzer in Chinese shop.
Getting back to umbrellas… You might find it quite peculiar to walk with an umbrella on a sunny day. Wait until July. When the temperature reaches 40oC and you feel burning heat all over your skin, walking with an umbrella suddenly cease to look so silly. Putting Chinese canon of beauty aside, you simply don’t want to turn into red crisp. You give in. As the saying goes ‘When in Rome…’ You take your umbrella and go shopping.