Golden Week: Japan's National Slacking Time


Wondering why there's not a whole lot of news and media coming out of Japan right now? That's because we're in the midst of what's known as "Golden Week" in Japan. If you're currently stuck with a whole bunch of work to do right now (like me... ack!), reading about this might serve to make you rather envious. 

For a country of notorious workaholics, Golden Week is a welcome reprieve, providing several consecutive days off for the average Japanese businessperson. (Of course, not everyone has Golden Week off - if they did, you'd effectively shut down the entire country. Sucks to be you, midnight clerk at Family Mart!)

The holidays are: 

  • April 29th, Showa Day (celebrating the late Emperor Showa)
  • May 3rd, Constitution Memorial Day (celebrating the installation of the post-WWII Japanese constitution)
  • May 4th, Greenery Day (HOORAY NATURE)
  • May 5th, Children's Day

May 1st, May Day, isn't technically a Japanese holiday, but most companies are nice enough to give you the entire stretch from the 29th to the 5th off from work so you can fit that one into your schedule, as well. 

So what goes on during Golden Week? Much like American holidays like Memorial Day weekend, a lot of travel happens - visiting relatives, taking families out on short vacations (Tokyo Disneyland, anyone?), visiting national landmarks, you name it. Travel is often completely booked as people scurry about from place to place. A few folks might even opt to go overseas, be it to nearby Asian locations like Seoul or Hong Kong, or even to the US - Hawaii, LA, Seattle, and my good ol' hometown of Awesomeville (aka San Francisco) tend to get more Japanese vistors during this stretch of time.

Golden Week ends with the Children's Day celebration, which is pretty well-known internationally. It used to be just "Boys' day," but, well, PC and all that. Families hang up carp-shaped wind streamers and display traditional dolls, all while praying for the health and success of their sons. (I'd imagine sentiments of "success" are more like "I hope my son earns a good education and goes on to a well-paying job" as opposed to "I hope my son gains notoreity on the internet for having the country's largest h-game hugpillow collection.")

By the way, while we're stuck here busting our butts, our friend Dick McVengeance is currently out having the time of his life. I hope you like that cotton candy you got at the amusement park, Dick, because its sugary, fluffy sweetness is the only thing offsetting the bitterness of my envy being projected onto you.

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