Japan summer selections 2
The middle of August is called Obon season and is one of the major holidays of Japan. Not that it is totally a rest from office and school you understand being a Buddhist tradition in which it is believed the spirit of the ancestors come back to a family`s home to be reunited with them. So people can be pretty busy at this time of year cleaning their houses and making offerings of foods in front of butsudan or families altars.
Japanese people also try to use this time to return to their family’s graves to honour their ancestors’ spirits in person (so to speak) and the trains and aeroplanes are even busier then usual. For most the holiday amounts to no more than a long weekend and they and are back at their desks on Monday or Tuesday duty done and rushed vacationing over. The very lucky ones get a week or two off and as the duty part takes a day or two at most this is a time when they can also travel for fun, squeezing in a short trip to a beach or the mountains while visiting relatives or taking a short package to a foreign resort. The idea of going out of season when the destination swould be less crowded and cheaper hasn`t really caught on here due to the fact that the employment system doesn`t really allow that sort of thing and the idea of doing something the “wrong” way, as in at the wrong time, just seems strange to many Japanese.
I have Obon holidays now but no money to go anywhere. I am very much an out of season traveller and it is rather annoying to find that all my holiday from work is going to be at these popular holiday times. Because Obon, along with Golden Week at the beginning of May and New Years, is an expensive time to travel; the bullet trains and aeroplanes are even more packed than usual and most hotels and hostels are full making it difficult to travel anywhere.
But I guess I can photograph the travellers heading away at this time at least (as above).
Busy but back soon.