Source: Gaijin Pot
In workaholic Japan, Golden Week is a highly anticipated string of holidays that everyone awaits with giddy excitement. Combined with the weekend, four simultaneous national holidays come together to make Japan’s busiest vacation season where we can all finally breathe and relax. Traffic jams, crowded airports, and endless lines for every tourist site are usually on the program.
From platinum week to… faded gold
In 2019, we got an upgraded platinum week with extra days off thanks to the abdication of Japan’s former emperor and subsequent start of a new era in the Japanese calendar—Reiwa. We already knew 2020’s Golden Week wouldn’t be as long as last year’s, but then COVID-19 came along and slapped us all down to… less than gold.
With the authorities calling for people to stay home to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus, most folks sadly canceled their long-awaited vacay. Flight and train reservations nosedived and sightseeing spots and ryokans have been left deserted.
Since people are holding back instead of venturing out, Golden Week or GW, is now being referred to as Gaman Week.
Good morning. The weather is nice today. It’s Gaman Week. Let’s spend time at home. You don’t really want to do such a thing, right? But if you don’t do it, it’s dangerous. Be wise and do something good for yourself. Good luck today! Shoo shoo! Thanks!
If you’re new to Japan, gaman is an essential life skill you should definitely master to blend into Japanese society. The term comes from Japanese Zen Buddhism and means “enduring the seemingly unbearable with patience and dignity.”