Japanese Golden Week is one of my favorite times of the year. It’s not too hot, nor too cold, and best of all, I have a week off.
I seem to be the only person who finds the name “Golden Week” a little inappropriate. Sure enough, there are so many national holidays squeezed into these seven days, that it is arguably a “valuable” holiday, but why use English? If Great Britain suddenly threw a bunch of holidays together and used Japanese to describe the time off, my wife and co. would be as confused as I am.
Imagine teaching your students about British culture, naming all the big holidays, Christmas, Easter, Shukujitsubakarinoshuu… it just doesn’t work, does it? I’m all for using English for English holidays such as Christmas, Valentine’s and Halloween, but why give an English name to a Japanese-only holiday? Bizarre.
Anyway, like all holidays, this one has gone far too quickly. I’ve spent most of my time off working on the computer, but we did get out of the house a couple of times. We spent six hours on the highway when visiting my father-in-law’s grave at the start of Golden Week, and the family got together for a barbeque later in the week. Here are some pictures:
After all the meat was gone, we started on the seafood. Japanese people absolutely adore eating, and they try to cook everything and eat it as fast as possible. The moment you turn away, they’ll load your plate and fill your beer glass again. Oh, and if you take a break, they’ll give you the “you’re too thin, you’ve got to eat more” speech. I may be 6 feet tall and weigh only 56 kilograms, but there’s a reason for that. I’m just not hungry!!! Please stop force-feeding me! How would you like it if I ranted on about how fat you were?!
Okay, I’ve calmed down now. Here’s a great picture of my brother-in-law and his dad. Japan is a country obsessed with fashion, and wearing a towel on your head is supposedly fashionable.
As the saying goes, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do”, so…
Yes, it’s a Winnie the Pooh towel, how cool is that??? There’s a Pooh on my head!
This camping chair made me laugh. It rocked about in the “Balmy Wind” and eventually “fell so good” !
After the barbeque, Mami’s mum, who has joined a local table tennis club, wanted to show us her skills. This is her in an all-action shot.
Perhaps the highlight of the day, which I forgot to photograph, was helping some guy get his car out of the drain. Gutters in Japan are a good foot wide and the same deep. If you’ve had bit to drink, as this idiot had, then you are more than likely to drive into one. The funniest moment was when four men all tried to lift the car out of the gutter, and the car just sat there looking at us with a “yeah, good luck” expression. Fortunately I was the first to think of using a jack, and sticking a drain cover from another place under the tire. It worked as hoped and the guy was so grateful, he thanked me, my countrymen and the queen!
Tomorrow is the last day of Golden Week, and we’re doing it all over again. This time the family is coming to our house, but will there be time for table tennis?If you like, you can find me on Twitter at @nick_ramsay. I'd love to hear from you!