April 28, 2008


'Golden week' is about to start. For some it may already be the golden week.

In Japan, the week comprising of last few days of April and first few days of May is called the golden week. Four public holidays fall in this period. Sometimes Saturdays and Sundays fall before and after these holidays and a long vacation period is created. Even if there is no such alignment, like this year, many people use their paid leaves and get vacation longer than a week. It is the travel time for Japanese. They mostly leave for overseas or some scenic spots inside Japan. Some go to their parents' home in villages. Children seem very excited to meet their 'ojiichyan'(grandfather) and 'obaachyan'(grandmother).

Tomorrow is '昭和の日'(The Day of Showa). (I am not clear but) it must be for commemorating the last emperor's reign, as that period is called 'Showa period'. Every emperor's reign is given a special 'period' name. The current one is 'Heisei period'. May 3 is 'Constitution Day', May 4 is 'Greenery Day' and May 5 'Children's Day'. May 6 is 'Substitute Holiday' as 'Greenery Day' falls on Sunday. If a public holiday falls on Sunday, the next working day becomes 'Substitute Holiday'.

Although it is called 'Children's Day', it is dedicated to boys only. 'Koinobori'(carp banner) is displayed all over Japan from April to early May. Koinoboris are made by drawing carp patterns on paper, cloth or other nonwoven fabric. They are displayed in honor of sons and hoping that they will grow strong and healthy.

The day dedicated to daughters is called 'Hina Matsuri' and falls on March 3 (the third day of the third month) when people display ornamental dolls inside their home.

Doesn't it sound too 'traditional' and 'sexist' that 'sons' are displayed outdoors and 'daughters' indoors?:)

'Koinobori' being displayed


  1. There used to be a house near my fren's residence and we used to wonder what was that fish, hanging in their terrace. But ur article solved it. Yes it is Koinobori!!

  2. hello Basanta jee, Wish you an enjoyable and happy Golden Week

  3. So whole Japan will be traveling this time of the year. The airfare must sky rocket then?

    In USA, the best we could get is a 3 day weekend, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday/Friday :( ...The country is so big that you need to get on the plane to reach somewhere in time, and if its a 3 day weekend then ticket prices are untouchable.

    That's an interesting school of thought on display of "indoors" and "outdoors" dolls :)

  4. लौ त वसन्त जी, ह्याप्पी गोल्डेन विक !

  5. Thank you all.

    Arati, I am happy that you learnt one more Japanese word:)

    Wish you too a happy golden week Badrijee.

    Yes Prajwoljee, it skyrockets. I heard in the news that the number of air passengers this year is 15% less than last year as it is not so easy to manage a long vacation. Still the number will be big.
    But road will be too crowded. TV will be showing long traffic jams in the highways soon.

    Aakarjee, Wish you too happy golden week.

  6. hey dude m thinkin of visitin japan one day to do photogrpahy..esp the mountains...i heard alot japan is well known for its mountains..i like ur road to nowhere...keep goin dude.

  7. Thank you rattlesnakejee! Welcome to this blog!

  8. unfoldingreverieMay 6, 2008 at 3:21 PM

    Basanta Ji,

    Hope you had nice golden week holidays. Or you used that for NRN meeting?

  9. Thanks prof. We were in Kyoto for a day and enjoyed very much with two Japanese families.
    Rest you can know from my newer posts how my golden week turned into a pretty bad experience.