Why the Japan Office Isn't Returning Your Calls This Week
Saturday caps the final day of Golden Week in Japan. Imagine President's Day, Earth Day, the 4th of July, your birthday, and your brother's birthday rolled into one.
The Japanese knock out five holidays in one seven-day period. April 29 is Showa Day (Showa no hi). It honors the birthday of former Emperor Showa, whose reign from 1926 to 1989 makes both Elizabeths look like slackers.
A few days later, on May 3, the Japanese celebrate Constitution Day (Kenpo kinenbi) as well as The Girls Festival (Hina matsuri). They remember that on this day, in 1947, the post-war constitution went into effect. In a coinciding yet completely different celebration, families wish their daughters a happy life. Little girls receive dolls from their elders. Doll displays, adorned with peach blossoms, go up in homes and public buildings throughout the country.
Without stopping to regroup, the Japanese launch into holiday four. May 4 is Greenery Day (Midori no hi). Not to be confused with the soft-core punk band, the holiday is a nod to Emperor Showa's affinity for nature.
The celebrations taper off with Children's Day (Kodomo no hi) on May 5. Technically, it only refers to boys because the girls already got their homage earlier in the week. Boys, not to be outdone, receive samurai dolls and families hang streamers in their honor.