May 3, 2019
This year's Golden Week is wildly long, thanks to that whole abdication, succession, and era change thing -- what, you hadn't heard?
It's a time where some serious considerations have to be made about surviving the stretch of holidays where things are either crazy busy or closed, without much of an in-between.
Here are my recommendations for surviving this year's Golden Week holidays, and hopefully keeping your sanity intact.
Stay at home
She gets me.
Honestly, this is my plan A. There's something fab about planning in a 10 day stretch of Netflix-binge watching without needing to feel bad about it, right? This year's Golden Week gives you all the ammunition in the world to just say screw it, I'm not leaving the couch unless it's for convenience store snacks. If that's wrong, I don't want to be right.
If you have to drive anywhere: prepare an epic playlist
I saw something on the news the other day about a 35 kilometer stretch of traffic piled up on one of the expressways on that first "mass exodus" from the urban centers. Let that sink in for a minute - thirty. five. kilometers. of. cars. not. moving.
If you're gonna be stuck in that kind of traffic jam on your way back home, you need some jams to go along with it.
Embrace all the places that let you pay with cards
Thank goodness for places that accept cards!
Before living in Japan I would have laughed at you if you told me that ATM's had closing hours and holiday hours, but in Japan that's just a fact of life. If you're like me and didn't think to take out a ton of cash before the GW break, you might be rationing the yen you have on you.
Bless all the establishments that take card payments. Sorry to all the little mom-and-pop shops that don't - I'll be back after the break, promise.
Embrace the squish
I'm not so good with embracing the squish, but if you are - go for it!
If you're better with crowds than I am, you might be able to just embrace the squish. Throw personal space to the wind. What's some random strangers body odor or bad breath anyway?
In all seriousness though, this might be your only chance for a decent stretch of holidays, depending on your job here. If you have to, dive right in and chalk it up as an experience.
After spending the last several years in the beating heart of Tokyo, I will be spending the next three in the countryside of Japan. I adore this country and all it has to offer - and I'm always learning more and more about life here as I go along!