Thursday, February 08, 2007


The Man without a Holiday

Oh, the paranoid naivete of a visitor from a foreign land! Here I was thinking (if I may so label it) that the universe was colluding against me vis-à-vis the home/office space-time continuum, when in fact I and the Japanese government were to blame! I, for not knowing what the Japanese government was up to, and the Japanese government for being up to it.

Turns out that in the very year I retired, the government initiated, starting with the first holiday of my retirement, what is known as the 'Happy Monday System,' under which several randomly arranged holidays were moved to Monday, and no one said a word to me about it. And as if that weren't enough holiday excision, "A provision of the law establishes that when a national holiday lands on a Sunday, that holiday is moved to the next day." They circumlocute, but that means My Monday.

Moving through the year like a clockwork orange, the new system works like a charm, ensuring that all national holidays in January, February, March and April fall on Mondays, rendering me a man without a holiday. Then we dance flower-garlanded into the month of May where, in a bizarre departure from the crush-Bob's-retirement-vacation-dreams norm, two of the three May holidays fall on a Thursday and Friday, though they may well be moved in some fashion before I arrive at them. Just to keep the sinister hand in, the other holiday falls on a Saturday.

Then in June we get right back into the groove with no holidays whatsoever. Flowing on into July on time's big trackless roller coaster, we see that the single solitary July holiday falls on a-- Monday! I get this one doubly off!

Then we come to the vacation desert month, August, where there are no holidays except those that full-time workers get, which leaves Bob over there by the dried-up oasis, tongue hanging out before a mirage of shimmering days off until we get to September, with its two holidays where, in stark contrast to the aforegoing monotony, both fall not on Fridays... not on Thursdays... not on Tuesdays, or any combination thereof, for both fall on the extremely over-vacated Monday!

Then in October, the sole holiday, in another shocking surprise, falls on a Monday! This brings us to November, when the single holiday falls on a Friday-- though I understand the government is working to have this corrected. December holiday? A Monday: 'When else,' the calendar says, 'You were expecting maybe a Christmas present?'

So if probability operated alone in my holiday-deficient world, of the 13 Japanese national holidays, 8 would fall like manna on my workdays, but only 3 do. I never thought I'd be saying anything like this one day, but if I want to have more days off, I'll have to work on Mondays.


Mary Lou said...

and here I sit, no job at all, and I never remember when a holiday is or isnt. I almost skipped thanksgiving last year. All the days blend into each other. BORING

Winston said...

What, pray tell, is a "day off?"

13 national holidays? I believe that bests the work-a-phobic state and federal governments in the US.

Chancy said...

I am speechless. Have you considered an anti discrimination suit against the Japanese government? Perhaps class action.

Robert Brady said...

Yes! On behalf of hard-working retirees everywhere!