Monday, July 26, 2010

Happy Mondays

Not the early-90’s band from the UK but the appropriate title for Japan’s national holiday/long weekend initiative.

Japan is blessed with a generous amount of national holidays. In fact, there are only one or two months in the year that don’t have at least one national holiday. A few years ago the government decided that as many national holidays as possible should fall on a Monday. Hence the term “Happy Mondays”.

Apart from offering a break to tired workers, the “Happy Mondays” idea is a great economic stimulus. The Japanese love to venture out into the countryside to sample the local cuisine and attractions of other areas. Purchasing unique snacks as souvenirs is a particularly big business in Japan. A steady flow of long weekends combined with heavily discounted highway tolls makes for a small economic boom.

The upcoming happy Monday , as this article is written, is “Sea Day”. Sea day takes place towards the end of July when rainy season has just about ended. The result is hopefully a day to spend by the seaside with family and friends in perfect summertime conditions. Needless to say, beaches and seaside towns during this weekend do get extremely crowded, so if you’re not one for throngs of people, then going to the beach on an alternate date might be a good idea. Crafty individuals may take advantage of huge amounts of people going to the beach or pools by visiting other more landlocked and quieter locales.

The happy Monday experience really kicks in around September/October though, with a flurry of national holidays during this time. Be aware that travel in or out of Japan could get very busy during these times, not to mention expensive! Be that as it may, a long weekend is always a good thing and anything that destroys the Monday blues is even better.

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