It was supposed to a period of joyful national celebration, the 10-day public holiday of the Golden Week extended this year to celebrate the ascension of a new emperor to the Chrysanthemum Throne.
So why are so many people miserable and stressed out?
A survey of Expedia Japan has found that nearly half of the working population is dissatisfied with the long holiday that runs from April 27 to May 6. Asahi The newspaper, which also included the opinions of housewives and retirees, found that more people were unhappy than happy with the long break.
"The ridiculous idea of the century," complained the Gendai Daily, a tabloid popular among wage earners, as the ubiquitous legions of Japanese office workers are known. "Only the rich are delighted. Do not give us 10 consecutive days of vacation."
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With expensive travel and crowded tourist sites, banks and many closed daycare centers, and a few small businesses struggling, gigantic vacations are simply not turning into the perfect celebration that the government intended.
Everything from email anxiety to social anxiety aggravates the problems for many Japanese. The dissatisfaction exposes the problems of overwork, inequality and social fragmentation in modern Japan.
Part of the reason: workers in many service industries in Japan simply are not getting any free time. In fact, the shortage of personnel in the country's tight labor market means that many are doing extra-long shifts during the break. "A hellish 10 days" for the service industry, read a tweet quoted in a poll published by Nikkei financial newspaper
"Someone's 10 consecutive holidays are made for the 10 consecutive days of someone else's service," said a tweet shared or enjoying 120,000 times, citing a disgruntled employee at a department store who just knew he had to work the entire period .
Other User Local Twitter research found not only positive words like "good" and "rest" associated with Golden Week, but also "service industry," "dying," "busy," "crowded," and "scared."
A blog post about trends Niconico, a popular news portal among young people, summed up the climate among many: "Face the anger against the government of those who can not take time off during the Golden Week."
In a Career Connection media post, a 30-year-old woman complained she could not take any slack because the hotel where she works is packed. "If it was the government that decided for a ten-day holiday, they should think of service people who can not say goodbye," she wrote. "I would like them to at least raise their wages during the holidays."
Golden Week refers to a series of holidays from Emperor Showa's birthday to Children's Day, which comes in rapid succession each year, which means that many people have the week off. The term was coined for the first time by movie companies to get people to take advantage of a "golden opportunity" to watch a movie but soon became part of the common use.
This year the holiday was prolonged to mark the abdication and retirement of Emperor Akihito and the accession to the throne of his son Naruhito with ceremonies on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Many offices are closed, but office workers in Japan are not necessarily anxious about time off.
A survey of 600 women workers conducted by Coca-Cola (Japan) found what they called an unexpected result: almost two out of three felt pressured before the holiday period and were discouraged as the gap approached.
"It's depressing to think of tons of e-mails after the holidays," one woman said, while another worried about work that would accumulate during the off-season.
Not everyone is quite sure what to do with forced leisure.
A survey by insurance company Meiji Yasuda revealed that three in four people plan to spend the week relaxing at home. A similar proportion of those interviewed by the rental company Spacemarket said they had no plans for the week.
Many are hampered by sharp increases in air fares and hotel rates – a site run by H.I.S. travel agency showed that the combined costs of flights and stays tripled during the holiday. Others can not deal with the crowd, or simply left it too late to make a reservation, a Hankyu Travel survey found.
But Spacemarket's research found that many people wanted to invite their friends out, but they did not because their friends seemed "too busy" or worried about rejection. Instead, many will probably end up at home, trying to catch up on sleep and watching TV or DVDs.
Many housewives were not looking forward to the holiday, according to research by Do House, mainly because of the additional burden of cooking and doing housework with their families at home. Others have worried about traffic congestion or unintentional overspending.
Families with children have complained for months that many childcare centers will be closed, with the problem especially acute for parents who still need to work. Local governments have offered grants to centers to remain open or offer alternative plans.
There are also worries that hospitals are struggling to ensure that enough doctors are available to work during the holidays or that financial markets react after a break with other complaints. O Gendai Daily blamed Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Foreign Minister Taro Aso, who are believed to be the richest politicians in Japan.
"The reality of ordinary people is unimaginable for the Abe-Aso couple," the tabloid wrote.