Welcome to Mountain Day on August 11... er, not yet, spunky.
Despite having first announced the new holiday back in May of 2014, Mountain Day does not come into effect until August 11, 2016 - next year.
Really? Okay... perhaps I can see how Japan would not be able to get ready in time for August 2014, but surely companies et al could have been better prepared to allow its employees to have a day off after 15 months of planning?
It's a Human Resources thing, isn't it? What's the big deal? Okay... I'm not in HR, and I respect the work anyone does, but if it's not an HR thing, why the big delay?
Right now - not including Mountain Day (since it hasn't really come into effect yet), Japan has 15 official national holidays—which is more than such countries as Spain (12 to 14: nine are chosen by federal, two to four can be added for each municipality - no more, no less) , Italy (11) and France (11). The U.S. has 10 holidays.
So... holy crap... Japan has a lot of holidays... lazy bastards. LOL!
Some of the more interesting Japanese holidays include one to honor the elderly (which is most people in Japan by 2020 - ha-ha); one to honor kids (apparently everyday isn't good enough); two for equinoxes (who knew Japan was so Earth-mother lovin'?); and apparently one for greenery... seriously... this is a country that enjoys paving over the forests. But it it really is to celebrate nature and being grateful for its blessings; and, there's one for the oceans - where you honor the waters yearning to be blue and clean once again, or more seriously "a day of gratitude for the blessings of the oceans and for hoping for the prosperity of the maritime nation that is Japan."
Okay... so the mountains and the sky needed to be honored, because apparently no one in Japan is actually doing any shinto praying to these types of gods/spirits... like when they climb Mt. Fuji and others of that ilk.
So.... in its infinite wisdom, Japan has made August 11, 2016, and everyday such August 11 after it a National Holiday... a day off where, according to the legislation, it provides "opportunities to get familiar with mountains and appreciate blessings from mountains."
I've been familiar with a lot of Japanese women - a lot - but never a mountain.
Are you expected to mount it or just view its grandeur from afar.
What if I don't want to go to the mountain? Will the mountain come to me? Probably not.
But,the key here is that this holiday is meant to be guilt-free.
Of course you can stare at or climb two or more mountains if you must, but the guilt-free aspect of iot all means no one can shame you for not being at work.
It's sad—and yet impressive—that taking a holiday is stated as being provided with guilt-free assurance, but it is.
We'll tune back in next year and see if people actually are able to take a guilt-free vacation in Japan...
Oh! Mountain Day... it is known in Japanese as Yama no Hi (山の日).
Somewhere watching Twin Peaks,
Andrew "A fine cuppa" Joseph