Today’s post is brought to you by the letter’s GW and the word Hipster.
The “hipster” will be self explanatory. The GW is the star of today’s Japan(ese) lesson. As it turns out, Americans and Mexicans (the top two workers in the world if you didn’t know) do not have a monopoly on working ridiculous hours. Japanese workers work so hard and so long, that it was a struggle to get workers to actually take holidays. Enter GOLDEN WEEK.
Golden Week is actually a span of national holidays that happen to coincide in a week-ish long fashion. The best American example I can give is how President’s Day weekend is something 5 days long when it lines up with Lincoln’s Birthday. Its like that but with five individual holidays. It starts April 29th with 昭和の日, or Showa Day, named after the Emperor Showa who died on that day in 1899. It is now also alternatively known as “Green Day.” May 3rd is Constitutional Memorial day. May 5th is Children’s Day. May 4th is in between those two so it is also a holiday. May 1st is sometimes also given off as May Day.
As you can see it is a bit haphazardly put together, but (unless you are a college student like me) offices and factories will often shut down for the whole ten days including weekends. The name came from a marketing campaign stating that it was a “Golden” opportunity to travel. Aka ticket prices are super expensive and I am broke.
So I decided to do a staycation in the area, starting April 29th in the afternoon because college students don’t get Showa Day off.
The vast majority of my time was spent in lovely 吉祥寺, a place I have mentioned before in my posts. It is one of the top areas to live in Tokyo and it has so many awesome things to do that I took advantage of during my week off.
Friday, April 29th
Friday started out with a friend and I going to get delicious vegan/vegetarian food at Deva Deva Cafe. Named one of the top places in Tokyo to eat by Time Out Tokyo, their food was frankly amazing (if a little pricey for a college student budget.) My “Chicken” sandwich was worth every penny though.
Afterwards we walked across the town in search of vegan donuts. What we were not expecting was to roam through pinterest land. Kichijouji has a lot of really fantastic shops for the most hipster of all hipster things, including (but not limited to) a shop dedicated to selling driftwood for about 50 dollars a piece. Good to know that you can be hipster no matter what time zone you are in.
Hara Donuts (note: site in Japanese) has adorable freshly made vegan donuts, with a variety of toppings. My favorite was the chocolate pistachio, but the plain with kinako powder was also really delicious. For those who don’t know what kinako is, it is roasted soy flour that tastes vaguely of peanuts. Pretty awesome.
Saturday May 1st
We went back again on Saturday morning, this time to see CIVIL WAR. For those of you who don’t know, I am a HUGE Marvel fan. I will admit, I am not too keen on the comics (or really, my wallet isn’t), but I love seeing those ideas come to life on the big screen. Also seeing it a week before my American friends was a huge plus, not going to lie.
Afterwards we stopped by Peppermint Cafe, a brightly colored Thai restaurant nearby Inokashira Kouen. They were having a pretty amazing lunch special, and we managed to get an entree, all we could eat salad and soup, and a drink, for less than our movie tickets. Before you get too excited, note that our 10:30 am movie tickets were 1500 yen WITH a student discount. Apparently “matinee” does not exist in Japan. Instead the later shows are cheaper. Which they conveniently had zero of for Civil War.
We then went park hopping. First stop was 井の頭公園, the park Kichijouji is famous for. It was huge and frankly quite romantic, what with the duck boats and lake. There were a bunch of different things going on, from a Hawaiian festival to an art fair, so there was a lot to see. We wound up by a station, and decided to go into Shibuya so we could walk to Harajuku and get cookies. We stopped by the same magical tiny park that I mentioned in my last post, and then got fresh cookies. They were no Insomnia Cookies, don’t get me wrong, but they were pretty good nonetheless. Upon finding out that my friend had never been to 代々木公園 before, we decided to stop by. By then we were both pretty tired and decided to head on back home.
In my next post I will regale you of tales of how I went from debauchery, to morality, and back to debauchery. All in the span of three days.