April 25, 2008

Golden Week and Movies

Golden Week* has come! Often abbreviated as GW, Golden Week is the longest holiday season in Japan from the end of April through the beginning of May. For many Japanese, it's time to go out, do something fun, go back to their hometowns, and/or travel abroad. Tourist places get very very crowded and highways becomes "low(-speed) ways." Golden Week is like a combination of Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, Labor Day, and maybe Thanksgiving in roughly the size of California with a population of around 127 million. Not so golden. Seriously.

I once went to Kamakura, Kanagawa, with my family during GW. We wanted to take a train to visit a temple to see the stature of Daibutsu, the Great Buddha. But the Enoden line Kamakura station was teeming with people. The two-car trains can't accommodate that many passengers. We were standing in line to get train tickets for about 30 minutes or so and ended up leaving there not being able to see Daibutsu...(The Enoden is a fun and scenic ride by the ocean, though. It's something you should try, but not during GW.)

Instead of going to chaotic sightseeing places, I'm planning to go to the middle of Tokyo this year, where streets and trains are much emptier than usual. One of the ideas that I come up with is to go see movies. A lot of movies will open during this holiday season, including "There Will Be Blood," "I'm Not There," and "The Bucket List."

When it comes to movies, the problem to live in Japan, a non-English speaking country, is the time lag. Although we have information on movies which already began showing in US, we have to wait for months until those will be released in Japan. (Many movies never come to Japan for some reasons like "Knocked Up".) For example, The Holiday opened on December 8, 2006 in US and UK. It finally arrived in Japan on March 24, 2007. It was kind of weird to see a snowy movie on a warm spring day.

I understand translation work takes so much time. There may be marketing strategies to release films according to Japanese holidays, which could cause the delay. However, on the Internet or TV, we can check out Top 10 movies in the same manner as Americans. So why not bridging the gap? Freshness matters.

Anyway, if I go see a movie in Tokyo, I can avoid the GW crowd at least.

*Golden Week is a Japanese term applied to the period containing the following public holidays:
April 29
Greenery Day, or Nature Day (みどりの日, Midori no hi?), until 2006
Shōwa Day (昭和の日, Shōwa no hi?), from 2007
May 3
Constitution Memorial Day (憲法記念日, Kenpō kinenbi?)
May 4
holiday† (国民の休日, Kokumin no kyūjitsu?), until 2006
Greenery Day, or Nature Day (みどりの日, Midori no hi?) (from 2007)
May 5
Children's Day (こどもの日, Kodomo no hi?), also known as Boys' Day (端午の節句, Tango no sekku?)

No comments: