I rarely get excited about a piece of clothing. I tend to gravitate toward the same comfortable pair of jeans and the same soft cotton shirt and for most of the day, I hardly ever think about my clothes.
Until I met a travel savvy friend when I was touring the Oki Islands. We were at the Takuhi-gama Workshop. It started to drizzle and the drizzle turned to rain. We had to go out to sea to dip our natural dyed scarves in the salt water. She lent me her Uniqlo Blocktech hooded parka as she whipped out an umbrella for herself. "This will keep you dry," she said. I doubted it. My experience with rain jackets is that they promise more than they deliver -- what they do is to keep you "mostly dry." I put it on anyway because it was better than nothing.
We stepped out into the rain and swished our newly dyed scarves in the sea. Despite the chilly wind, I was warm, something I didn't expect a thin jacket could do. The hood of the parka was smartly designed and had a extra coverage over my eyeglasses to keep the rain out. When we got back to the workshop, I removed the parka and I was dry, dry as popcorn. The parka had beads of water on it which my friend simply shook off. "I bring this to all my trips. It looks smart enough for a business meeting and I'm prepared for any weather," she said. I was sold.
It is extremely rare to find a rain jacket that manages to look stylish at the same time. Mind you, the jacket is not cheap. The regular price is ¥5,990 (there are ¥1000 off sales every now and then). But it is a jacket that is genuinely waterproof, windproof, and stylish and delivers what it promises. The Uniqlo Blocktech parka is a closet essential that you will have a hard time purchasing just one of.
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For Sherilyn Siy, Asia is home. Born in Hong Kong, Sherilyn spent time in the Philippines, China, and now lives in Japan. She speaks English, Filipino, Chinese (or putonghua), and Hokkien, her family's local dialect. Running is one of her favorite ways to explore Japan. She proudly finished the 2015 Tokyo Marathon -- her first ever full marathon -- in 4 hours and 37 minutes. She was absolutely psyched when she got selected again to run the new Tokyo Marathon route in 2018. She hopes to complete other races in Japan.