Hello everyone reading this. This is Trevor from the past reporting live to you, in the future, about myself in the even more distant, but not extremely distant past. And now, without further adieu, on with the report and the future!
Trev's Love Life
I am still in love with my wife, Signe. Our fourth wedding anniversary is on May 25th, but since the first week of May is a series of holidays allowing for a long vacation, we opted to take a week-long anniversary trip, even though it is a bit early. What follows is an account of our travels (photos are available at Signe's Flickr account, http://flickr.com/photos/ginshari-san/sets/72057594129458296/, for public consumption).
Trev's Note on Golden Week
First a note on the so-called "Golden Week" holidays. The "week" consists of 4 holidays packed closely together. It is said that the term "Golden Week" was created by movie theater operators after 1948, when the laws creating the holidays went into effect, to increase theater attendance (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_Week_%28Japan%29).
First is "Greenery Day" which is being changed to "Showa Day" in 2007. This is August 29th, falling on a Saturday this year it was nonetheless an official holiday. It was the Emperor Hirohito's birthday and celebrated as such until his death in 1989 when the holiday's name was changed to "Greenery Day" in honor of the Emperor's love of nature. Next year (2007) the name of the day will change to "Showa Day" in honor of the emperor himself. This is a controversial change and is seen by some in the government as an ongoing move towards a more nationalistic society. Other moves that have received international attention as of late include the recent bill introduced to the Japanese Diet to mandate 'patriotism' in schools (read more at http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/20060429TDY04004.htm) and the changing of school textbooks declaring firmly that the "Takeshima" ("Dokdo" in Korean) islets are and always have been Japanese territory, despite the Koreans having laid claim to the islets prior to the 1910-45 occupation of Korea by Japan (A Korean perspective is at http://english.donga.com/srv/service.php3?bicode=060000&biid=2006042221708).
Next up on the holiday docket is Constitution Memorial Day on May 3rd. This is the day the 1947 Japanese Constitution, written by the U.S. Occupational Forces, came into effect as law. It is also the only day of the year that the Japanese Diet Building in Tokyo is open to the public. This year the hot topic issue of the day was Article 9 of the constitution, the so-called "No War" clause that renounces war and the formation of a military, although self-defense forces (SDF) were eventually allowed. Many politicians are being pressured to revise the article to allow Japan once again to have a proper military and declare war once again, but others fear that Japan's violently militaristic past could return with the abolition of the law. Public opinion is torn between those that want a change (http://www.asahi.com/english/Herald-asahi/TKY200605040088.html) and those who oppose any change (http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20060504a6.html). I am of the opinion that the Japanese SDF is a good defense force and the 61 years since the end of Japanese militarism has been an overall success for the country. To succumb to the global tread towards nationalism would be a drab step backwards for a country that has come so far on the merits of peace.
Our second to last holiday, on May 4th, is simply called a "National Holiday," or "Between Day" since it has no meaning except to bridge the gap between the holiday on the 3rd and the holiday on the 5th. Starting in 2007, though, this oddity is being remedied by replacing this meaningless holiday with "Greenery Day," formerly August 29th.
The final holiday is "Children's Day" on May 5th. Although it would be more accurate to call it "Boy's Day" since is primarily celebrates the male children in a family usually by displaying large carp flyers outside houses and samurai dolls within.
If you are looking at a calendar right now you will notice that May 1st and 2nd are not holidays, but many people, although not teachers, take these days off to have an extended vacation. This is exactly what Signe and I did this year.