Golden Week is a Japanese holiday in the first week of May that gives people the chance to have at least 3 days off with their families at a nice time of year. If lined up with other days, like a weekend, people get a longer holiday still. This year (2017) some people had 10 consecutive days off!
This is interesting in light of the current debate concerning the long working hours people put in each day. There has been a lot of news about people’s work conditions contributing to their deaths, which is finally becoming a genuine topic and rightfully so. Japanese people put in long office hours, there is not doubt about that problem. But then I have to remember there are things like Golden Week.
Japanese holidays are plentiful and spread out over the toast of the year like sweet jam. The only problem with this is that all people have the same days off and so going anywhere “special” becomes a massed tangle of humanity trying for the same location! This Golden Week was no different. We got stuck in traffic, surrounded by hords of people and, well, stuck in traffic, but to be honest we had it pretty good because we live in a fairly low populated area and the road system give people multiple options for getting places. So we were fine.
For my family we like to hit the hiking trails during Golden week as most of the mountains under 1,000 meters are open and covered with flowers. We hit two mountains, making it to the top of one because the first one we encountered thunder and I was a scarredy cat about it.
Then we visited a pottery festival to shop for cups and other items for souvenirs and needed plates. We tried to get to a tulip festival, but were both late and unwilling to pay the 1,000 yen each ($10) to see tulips. Such is life, but the zoo we did visit was fun and we got to see a lot more animals this time.
Well the Golden Week holidays are over for me. I started work and will teach today, so off to do my job, but that is life. I am thankful for the refreshing days off and ready to get kids motivated into learning a new language.