Golden Week

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Golden Week. Two words. Woefully inadequate at describing the farce that it is. When everyone in the country simultaneously gets a vacation, and flood the streets of Japan looking to get their travel and shop on. Shinkansen tickets are booked up months in advance, airline ticket prices double overnight, and the resulting traffic jams are measured in kilometers (peaking at around 60km this year). Shopping districts are flooded and businesses pull out all the stops on half assed sales and dumb promotions.

It’s 4 separate holidays, 2 of which are a joke at best, combined into one mass glob of hell for anyone dumb enough to step foot outside. Let’s take a look at each holiday in detail and their importance to the Japanese people.

April 29th – みどりの日 (Greenery Day) We all know how green Japan is but it wasn’t always green enough to get it’s own day. Originally, April 29th was Emperor Hirohito’s birthday, whose reign was called the Showa period. Hirohito, who emperored from 1926 until his death in 1989, was not a well loved man, notably throughout Asia, where there are rumors he did some naughty things in the 30s and 40s. Even so, his death marked a dark day in Japan. For his birthday was bitchin’ rad; right at the beginning of Golden Week. This made for some hella-fresh 10 day weekends. But he wasn’t Emperor anymore, so his birthday couldn’t be considered a national holiday. Unless… Unless the legislature could make a new holiday which just HAPPENED to fall on the same date. It would have to be something really important, worthy of the creation of an entirely new holiday. It would have to be something that would justify shutting down the government, banks, mail system, and the entire economy for an entire day. And just what did they decide? That most important of matters, that most solemn of ideas, that which is worthy of an entire day of quiet pondering and respect? The color green. Thus Green Day was born. And this, in fact, worked out well for Japan. Because no longer was their celebration insultingly focused on the evil raping and pillaging Showa Emperor, but on something really lame and stupid. Unfortunatly, Japan realized this (not the lame-n-stupid part, the un-insulting part) and decided they had to put a stop to it. So from 2007 and on, April 29th will no longer be a celebration of the color of Ireland and puke. An entirely new holiday will be born, a holiday called “Showa Day.”

Picketting has already begun in Asia.

May 3rd – 憲法記念日 (Constitutional Memorial Day) A day to reflect on the rigid and foreign-drafted constitution of Japan, so strict that since its adoption nearly 60 years ago, not a single amendment has been able to pass. Though attempts have been made. Especially to modify or remove Article 9, which prohibits Japan from reinstating it’s owned armed forces and declaring war on another nation. Last year, a political group attempted to enact several changes including the modifications to articles concerning individual rights and government power, also making it easier to pass future amendments (by reducing the number of votes needed). Most notably, it called for the modification of Article 9 to allow the creation of armed forces under the command of the Prime Minister. The head of the group, known as the Liberal Democratic Party (a group that is decidedly un-liberal), which has been pushing for these changes for years, is of course the Prime Minister himself. Fortuately, depsite the Prime Minister’s assurances that he was “totally not going to do anything evil,” there is enough opposition to the measures, and Japan is safe from being nuked by North Korea for another day. The people of Japan sent a message, and it is loud and it is clear. “To the Liberal Democratic Party: No! We don’t support your ultra-right-wing totalitarianist views! But that doesn’t mean we’ll stop voting you into power.”

May 4th – 国民の休日 (Ain’t No One Coming Into Work Today Day) Since May 3rd and 5th were both national holidays, no one in their right mind would expect anyone to come to work on a day that fell between them. Especially not when they can skip out on a single work day and get an instant 3, 4 or sometimes 5 day weekend. This resulted in a labor crisis in every facet of the local, prefectural and national government as the system shut down every May 4th. Finally one year the legislature saw this and spent months and millions of yen in tax payer money drafting a solution that would change the entire foundation on which the Japanese work force was built, to prevent the May 4th crisis. The bill was put to a vote in both houses on the 4th of May. Though seeing as it was the 4th of May, only 3 legislature members actually showed up that day. They were so angry that they’d forgotten it was Legislature Skip Day, they voted in a new draft that made the 4th a holiday. There was also a draft passed that said the representative from Gunma prefecture is “A total buttface” that still remains on the books to this day. This year however, we enjoyed our final Fake Holiday Day ever. From 2007, May 4th will be a completely different holiday, based on a more relevant celebration. It will be known as, “Greenery Day,” which you may remember as the lame holiday from April 29th thats now Rape of Asia Day.

May 5th – こどもの日 (Children’s Day) In the US, when kids want to know why there is a Mother’s Day and a Father’s Day but no Children’s Day, the answer is usually a condescending “Everyday is Children’s Day.” In Japan, that bullshit doesn’t fly, so after a 1959 armed takeover of an elementary school where teachers were taken hostage by students demanding equal rights, Children’s Day was born. At the time it was created to as a way to appease the 10 year old hostage-takers, and remains as a memorial to the fallen 4th graders who fought so bravely. I think we should also use this day to reflect on the fact that Japan is a day where children can play freely without fear of being abducted or harmed by freaks.

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~ by foomfoom on May 5, 2006.

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