Happy Showa Day! It’s officially Golden Week in Japan. I only discovered this after two failed trips to the post office…
Why is the post office closed on a Tuesday?!
The national holiday schedule in Japan is pretty awesome. It has things like Golden Week, which is four national holidays within a week of each other, effectively closing most businesses and sending Japanese people scattering toward, for many, the longest vacation period of the year.
In 2000, Japan implemented the “Happy Monday System,” which moved many holidays to Monday to create a three-day weekend. The charming innocence of the name of the law change certainly beats the United States’ Uniform Monday Holiday Act.
The young (Children’s Day) and old (Respect for the Aged Day) alike are celebrated and Mother Nature gets three holidays of her own (Vernal Equinox Day, Greenery Day and Marine Day).
However, not all the holidays carry a celebratory nature today.
Technically, Showa Day celebrates the life of Emperor Showa, better known as Hirohito outside of Japan, who died in 1989. Hirohito reigned over the empire during World War II and, as a result, left behind a mixed legacy both inside and outside of Japan.
Coming of Age Day celebrate those who have turned 20 years old and encourage them to realize that they are now adults. In a sign of the ever-changing Japanese society, celebrations have dwindled over the years as the birth rate has slowed and fewer Japanese youth consider themselves ready for, or supported in, the responsibilities of adulthood at age 20. A 2002 celebration was ruined by drunken youth.
Our current Golden Week plans are held hostage by the impending weather forecast, but hopefully we’ll be able to crowd the trains and parks with the rest of Japan to celebrate Showa Day, Constitution Memorial Day, Greenery Day and Children’s Day.