Golden Week, or what I like to call the Great Migration, is upon us.
ゴールデンウィーク is a week of four public holidays at the end of April/beginning of May. The holidays are:
- 昭和の日 Showa Day (Monday, 29 April 2013)
- 憲法記念日 Constitution Day (Friday, 3 May 2013)
- みどりの日 Greenery Day (Saturday, 4 May 2013)
- こどもの日 Children’s Day (Sunday, 5 May 2013). *Because Children’s Day is on a Sunday this year, Monday has become its replacement holiday.
So in other words, we have a THREE-DAY WORK WEEK, and a FOUR-DAY WEEKEND!!! Wohoo! That’s a work-play ratio I like!! Some people are lucky enough to work for companies which close for the whole week, but I’m happy with my 3:4 ratio.
Most people back home would say, “four-day weekend, great! but why the big deal?”. Well, if you know anything about the culture here, it might be that the Japanese are workaholics… to the extreme. Probably not by choice most of the time, but it is expected that people will be married to their jobs. Literally, the only acceptable time for people to take ‘time off’ from work, is their honeymoon. With that in mind, you can imagine the excitement of a week-long holiday!
And what do you do on such a holiday? … TRAVEL!! Couples, singles, families, friends; the masses battle the airports and train stations as they make their way to other parts of the country or overseas. The cost of travel rises, with transport companies also trying to get the most out of the situation. Shops lure customers in with ‘GW sales’. Hotels get booked out well in advance. Common tourist places overflow with people. It is one of the three busiest times of the year (along with New Year’s in January and Obon week in August). It’s a big deal.
As for me, for the past 2 years, I have spent GW travelling around Kyushu. So this year, I’m opting out of the Great Migration, and planning to stick around Tokyo and check out a few events throughout the week.
Happy Golden Week, everyone!