The rain in Tokyo was making my lack of waterproof pants uncomfortable.

I find your lack of waterproof pants disturbing

Just down the alley from Vegan Healing Cafe, there’s a huge MontBell filled with all sorts of outdoor gear. You don’t hear much about them stateside unless you read Mark Verber’s excellent rundown on outdoor clothing and footwear, but in Japan they’re the most popular outfitter.

One evening the skies opened up during dinner, so I stopped in to pick up some pants. Preferring to keep weight and space to a minimum, I asked if they had any pants made of Gore-Tex Paclite.

Gore-Tex is available in a few different weights, Paclite being at the minimal end of the spectrum. The salesman told me all they had was XCR, designed for extreme and prolonged water exposure. That’s all well and good, but it’s much heavier and much less breathable than Paclite.

The price of the XCR pants was very good, so I asked if it’d be possible to order Paclite. It wasn’t, and the salesman explained that XCR was much more durable. That wasn’t news to me, and everyone loves Paclite, so why not offer it?

“Japanese will not buy it if it won’t last forever.”

That’s why I have ridiculous neon blue XCR rain pants.