Golden Week

This week begins week-long holiday in Japan, and one of the busiest travel times throughout the country. There were pictures on the news last Saturday of the international airport in Tokyo. Yikes. I am glad I didn’t have to stand in those lines!

The holidays:

April 29: Green Day

No, not the band. This day celebrates the birthday of the Showa Emperor. As I understand from my students, the emperor liked greenery, so after he died, this holiday was renamed Day of Green in his memory. However, next year Green Day gets its own day (see May 4), and April 29 will be renamed Showa Day.

May 3: Constitution Memorial Day

Just like it sounds, this day honors the Constitution of Japan.

May 4: Citizen’s holiday

This day is not really a holiday, but Japanese law states that if a day falls in between two holidays, that day will also be a national holiday. Since May 3 and May 5 are both national holidays, May 4 automatically also is a national holiday, with all the rights and priviledges thereof. Beginning next year, however, Green Day will move to May 4. April 29 will continue to be the commemoration of Emperor Showa’s birthday.

May 5: Children’s Day

Or Boy’s Day. This holiday traditionally celebrated the health and growth of boys. In 1948, the holiday was changed to Children’s Day in an attempt to be inclusive. However, it is still widely celebrated as Boy’s Day, because girls have their own festival in March. According to an informal, non-representative survey of my students, on Children’s day, families with no sons tend to celebrate the day with a cake.

Everyone, whether they have children or not, enjoys the week of vacation. Some schools give students the whole week off, while others do not. My students are mostly leaving town, so even though Tuesday is not a holiday, I have no classes because I have no students.

What will I do to celebrate this week? The weather is beautiful, so I went to a Japanese garden today. As soon as I figure out how to get the photos off my cell phone and into the computer, I will share them! Other than that, I am still making plans. Hopefully, I will just be out exploring Tokyo in this fantastic spring weather!