The first week of May was Golden Week in Japan. The week is chock-full of Holidays: Showa Day (Showa no hi), Constitution Day (Kenpo kinenbi), Greenery Day (Midori no hi), and Children’s Day (Kodomo no hi). Because there are so many Holidays generally everyone is off from school and work. Thus, Golden!! (Kinda of like a Spring Break for the whole country!) Unfortunately, my university still had school on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday; but, I still found time to enjoy the week! Here is what I did over my break:
Wednesday: Darkness Festival. Fuchu is home to the Okunitama Shrine, one of the oldest shrines in Tokyo. The shrine’s annual festival is called the Kurayami (darkness) Festival, where mikoshi (portable shrines) are carried in the darkness. The festival had so many great food stalls with such variety. Needless to say, we ate quite a bit!
Thursday: I spent the morning doing busy work around my apartment and then went to Harajuku to meet some friends. We ate and drank at this little area called Commune 2nd. It reminded me a lot of Austin and the food trucks. Each restaurant had their own little shop with unique food/drinks. You ordered and then went back to your seat at outdoor picnic style seating. We were lucky enough to score the couches and so we camped out most of the day!
Friday: Mt. Takoa. About one hour outside of Tokyo is Mount Takoa. A few of us MEXT research students decided that we should take the day and hike the mountain. It was a fairly easy hike only taking us about 6-7 hours to climb up and down the mountain. There is a Monkey Park about half-way up that we stopped, rested, and watched monkeys. The weather was perfect, the trail was beautiful, and the matcha ice cream at the top of the mountain was so worth it!
Saturday: Rest. All of the outings made me a bit tired and I really needed to study my Japanese. So, I took the day to study, get work done, and rest.
Sunday: Tokyo Rainbow Pride Parade and a Picnic in Yoyogi Park. It was so wonderful to spend the day with my new friends celebrating everyone and sharing a meal together in the park. Perfect way to end Golden Week!
Golden Week was a success!! Now, back to school and no more breaks until July…