Friday, April 30, 2010

"Golden Week"... Time off !

Holidays! Golden Week vacations started in Japan with the escape of millions of travelers. It's the longest Japanese holiday with the exception of New Year and the Obon week. Millions of people get ready to travel to domestic resorts, beaches, sightseeing tourism, carnivals, and family gatherings. Overseas call catch a lot. Guam and Hawaii, as well as European countries France and Italy, are said to attract tens of thousands of travelers from Japan (Tokyo Narita airport expects over 1 million users) during the holiday season through early May. Some depart to nearby nations, Korea, China, especially to the Shanghai 2010 World expo. Thailand is the place with a big question mark even though the local gorgeous sea-resorts are far from being harmed by the current dreadful political instability.

Even if Japan recovered faster from the financial crisis than most other nations, the crisis strikes for a lot of Japanese and costs are severely cut. For many islanders the " G.W." will be a short trip, bathe in an Onsen station, gazing at a Zen garden, sipping local 'Sake', stay home and have good food and take a rest in front of a noisy TV with kids joyfully jumping around... while others will experiment the mecca of hi-tech products 'Made in Japan'. For others the Golden Week is the only time in the year to fill the islander with art and aestheticism, a national sport with museums filled by art lovers as bees in a hive.

The Golden Week actually started on Thursday and runs from April 29 through May 5. There are four national holidays during this period: Showa Day (April 29), Constitution Memorial Day (May 3), Greenery Day (May 4), and Children's Day (May 5).

Quotes "The end of April through around May 5th is called "Golden Week" in Japan since there are many Japanese national holidays during this period. Many Japanese offices close for about a week to 10 days, depending on the calendar. People take a vacation and travel around the country or abroad, so tourist attractions in Japan are very crowded during Golden Week. Also, airports and train stations in Japan are overflowing with people. It is hard to get reservations for accommodations and transportation during Golden Week...

The first national holiday during Golden Week is April 29, which was the birthday of the former emperor Showa. Now, this day is called showa-no-hi (Showa Day). The second holiday is kenpou-kinen-bi (Constitution Memorial Day), May 3. The new Japanese constitution was put into effect on May 3, 1947. Then, May 4 is called midori-no-hi (Greenery Day) during which we show appreciation for nature...

The last holiday during Golden Week is kodomono-hi (Children's Day) on May 5th. It's Japanese Boy's Festival called tango-no-sekku and is a day to pray for healthy growth of boys. It's a Japanese tradition for families of boys to hang up carp streamers (koinobori) outside their houses around this holiday. Carps are believed to symbolize successes in children's lives. Also, samurai dolls called gogatsu ningyo (May Dolls) are displayed in their houses."

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