Japan has 13 national holidays throughout the year. Most retail stores remain open but schools, companies, government offices, banks and bank machines are closed.
November 23 is Kinro Kanshi No Hi or Labour Thanksgiving Day. Because the 23rd fell on a Sunday this year, today is a day off in lieu. Established in 1948, this holiday is an occasion for honouring labour, celebrating production and giving one another thanks. While the Japanese don’t have a holiday comparable to Canadian or American Thanksgiving, prior to 1948 November 23 was celebrated as a harvest festival known as Niiname-sai.
Unlike most schools, our private English school often remains open on national holidays and we are given other days off in lieu. It’s often easier for our students to come for lessons on days when they don’t work or go to school and it enables our school to set up a calendar that ensures that every class meets the same number of times over the course of a year. Today, however, we do have the day off which has given Richard and I a two day break. On occasions like this, we usually have big plans but today is a do nothing day for us. Rich has a bad cold and I’m nursing a sore back. Neither is serious but perhaps these are indications that we ought to take it easy and relax for a change. Of course, the fact that we have four days off later in the week and have made exciting plans for three of them, is motivation to rest up and get well. One of my adult students has invited us to spend three days and two nights with her & her husband at their weekend home in Onjuku, a small seaside community on the other side of the peninsula that we live on! Rie has a busy and exciting itinerary planned out for us. This is an amazing opportunity and should be lots of fun!