When you come to Japan, you will notice very soon that japanese people have a very special relationship to their umbrellas. Of course, they have to, because when it starts raining here, it will not end for days. The drizzle surrounds you everywhere and due to there terrific perfectionism, Japanese hate to get wet. So everybody carries a large umbrella during rain time (not these small ones that we call Knirps® in Germany). And because there are umbrellas everywhere, it is hardly surprising that Japanese created some very useful, but curious devices for their umbrellas.
For example you can find lockable umbrella stands in front of noble restaurants and stores, like these:
Another very handy thing are plastic bags, which are provided in front of almost every store and which you can pull over your umbrella, so that you can't wet the store equipment or other people. However, I never saw anybody using this up to now. Maybe it is because it takes much time to fumble the bag over the umbrella.
So, somebody created this:
As you can see, this is an automat that pulls a plastic bag over your umbrella. Even more handy than just a plastic bag ;)