Japan has started Golden Week, a semi-accidental grouping of holidays which gives everyone a nice break from their normal school or work lives. The name Golden Week was coined in 1951 when an executive at the Daiei Movie Company noticed a spike in ticket sales around these holidays, so his company started a campaign to advertise the holiday week as a great time to go see a movie, in the same way that “golden time” (“prime time” to most of us) is the best time to watch television. While the Golden Week name has become universal today, Japan’s public broadcasting network NHK stoically refuses to use it, preferring the term 連休 renkyuu (“period of consecutive holidays”) to avoid using a label created to advertise a private industry. Golden Week is a major economic boon for leisure-oriented businesses, including tourist spots like Hawaii, Guam and California, so if you happen to notice more Japanese people in your city than normal this week, you’ll know why. In the Tokyo area, a popular destination is Karuizawa, the pleasant mountain town featured in several anime series including Waiting in the Summer, and for me, nothing defines Golden Week better then spending a couple hours riding a rented bicycle under the canopy of trees there.
Golden Week is a time for leisure for the Japanese.