Monday, September 18, 2006
Yey for old people
Ok, see her? She's old. We in Japan would call her a "baachan," and today we celebrate her and her ilk. Look at her all get gettin down old school style... woo hoo. So today was 敬老の日, which basically means "yey for old people" day. It's cool because it means that I didn't have to work and get a 3-day weekend for once, but isn't that big of a deal since I pretty much just stayed at home the whole time. Ah well, I did get a bunch of stuff done I guess. Like laundry. And dishes and cleaning. And studying for the big Japanese test I signed up for at the end of the year, which I've been slacking on a tad.
You know, I don't think Japanese really respect old people the way they used to traditionally, but it's cool they have a "respect your elders" day that's actually a national holiday. They have a bunch of weird holidays though, seemingly for no reason. Then again, maybe I just don't understand what's going on. The way I understand it though, it's meant to offset the whole workaholic syndrome that Japanese are well known for. People used to work themselves to death, literally, and so the state's solution was to manufacture a bunch of days that people were supposed to take off in order to force people to rest. In addition to "Respect for the Elderly" day, there's also "National Exercise Day", "Green Day" (go Billy Joe, err, I mean plants! Go plants, woo!!), Ocean Day, Culture Day, and a few others... see the full list here. I don't think it's working too well though, because I'm pretty sure my office was still open today even though I was given the day off.
I've heard that in a lot of Japanese offices, you still get that feeling that you're supposed to stick to your post until your boss is ready to go, even if you don't have any work left and have better things to do. That's why you hear of Japanese people sticking around in the office until 10-11pm - it's not necessarily because they're working that late, even if they're still at work. Very inefficient use of time if you ask me. Things are slowly changing though, and I hear they're warming up to the idea of leaving for home at a reasonable hour and spending more time with the fam. Then again, I'm sure getting off at 5 for some just means more time to go out with co-workers and practice a little "nomunication".
So yeah - go granny, it's yer birfdey!
Oh hey, and if you've read this far then check out my neighbor's blog in the link section. He's a French Canadian, but I forgive him. Just kidding, he's good people. ;P