Japan is making ready to mark its newest addition to the nation’s in depth public vacation calendar, Mountain Day, on Thursday.
However what’s it, and does anybody care?
Sure. The additional time off – Japan now has an distinctive 16 public holidays a 12 months – turned regulation in 2014, to take impact on 11 August 2016.
Why that date?
As a result of the “kanji” (Chinese language characters utilized in written Japanese) for “eight”, 八, appears to be like a bit like the perimeters of a mountain. Additionally “11” (in “Western” Arabic numerals) appears to be like a bit like two bushes, say some. Many municipalities had additionally already designated the date as one to have fun mountains and, unusually, there have been no different public holidays in August.
The marketing campaign to have a Mountain Day was a longstanding trigger for climbing and mountain-related teams, who wished to have fun Japan’s particularly hilly terrain, and its essential connections to Japan’s geography and tradition.
Japan additionally likes to have one thing particular to have fun on every public vacation, corresponding to Greenery Day in Might, Marine Day in July and Respect for the Aged Day in September, although most individuals deal with them as simply one other time off.
What’s so Japanese about it?
The nation’s many peaks are extra than simply geographical options. Japan’s dramatic landscapes outcome from the collision of tectonic plates. In addition to its volcanoes, earthquakes and scorching springs, the earth’s crust is pressured up because the plates transfer collectively.
The mountains additionally clarify Japan’s densely packed cities – squeezed into the flat land close to the ocean – and, observers say, the tradition that has arisen there.
Regardless of the nation’s excessive urbanisation, many Japanese individuals see themselves as extra in contact with nature than individuals in lots of different developed nations.
So everybody can be going climbing?
Not precisely. Whereas hill-walking is standard, particularly with Japan’s senior residents, an admittedly small survey by the Japan Climate Affiliation discovered that just about a 3rd of these they requested had not even heard of the brand new vacation.
Almost 10% have been eager about a visit to the mountains although – not such a foul concept within the infamous warmth of Japan’s cities in August. Those who do have been suggested to go correctly outfitted and control climate forecasts.
Why so many public holidays?
Japan now has extra official days off than some other member of the Group of Eight (G8) world powers. It additionally has an issue with individuals working extreme hours and never claiming all of the go away they’re owed, which has been blamed for weak client demand – and even for Japan’s low delivery price.
It’s hoped public holidays encourage individuals to take longer holidays – you solely must take a couple of days off to hitch them with weekends to get a correct break – and spend cash within the course of.
The Japan Times suggests the brand new vacation can be accountable for a potential additional 820bn yen ($8bn; £6bn) in spending, together with a soar in gross sales of tenting gear.
Any impact on the delivery price is much less clear, although households are in all probability grateful for extra time collectively.