May 8, 2015
5 day weekend!
One of the many things that surprised me after coming to Japan was the large number of national holidays. Like most Americans, I had a very strong stereotypical image of Japanese people. Work was everything and your own pursuits don’t matter. To be honest, that is true to a certain extent.
The good ole days
When I was a student, I eagerly waited for holidays. I didn’t care about the celebrations, I just didn’t want to go to school. I wanted to play! But, holidays were a rare thing, kind of like Bigfoot sightings. But here in Japan it’s a different story.
What holiday is it?
almost every month there is a national holiday. (I know, right?) From what I understand, they are the birthdays of former emperors. (The current emperor’s birthday is a national holiday.) When the emperor dies, of course the new emperoror’s birthday is celebrated. However, the previous emperor’s birthday is changed to a national holiday of another name. Because of Japan’s long history, that’s a lot of Emperors’ birthdays!
In fact, there are so many holidays that many people can’t remember what they are. I only remember a few like, Sea day, Respect for the Aged day, Green Day, Children’s day, etc. I must admit, though that I don’t know if all of them were actually an emperor’s birthday or not. I know that Constitution day wasn’t.
The perfect storm
There is one week in May where 3 or more holidays line up. Japanese people have named this Golden Week. I guess having that many days off is golden. I agree! In fact, this post was finished after the fact. Many Japanese people travel during this time. In fact it’s the third most expensive time to travel in Japan. I enjoyed my Golden week with shopping and yard work. Oh yeah, and that day that I did nothing.