But it is hard to ignore the fact that we are in the midst of gōruden uīku right now. But what is there to say about it that someone else hasn’t said already? Yes, a holiday-studded week that gives impetus to travel both locally and abroad depending on how the holidays fall. Yet, gōruden uīku is sometimes more trouble than it is worth, particularly if you live in Tokyo.
During my first year in Tokyo, everyone told me to avoid travel during gōruden uīku because the densha would be packed. They said it was a great time to STAY in Tokyo because the city would empty out. This was fine for me, but your average working class folks feel very compelled to travel to their hometowns since it could be such a long vacation. And when I married a Fukui fellow, we did make the trek a few times. And yes, the trains were horrid. But not quite as horrid as during Oshōgatsu.
If you’re wondering if someone will yield a seat to a nursing mother on a crowded shinkansen, the answer is nope. I thought I’d have to sit on the floor of the train to nurse my akanbō. But a conductor came by and let me know that there was a special junyūshitsu. It was a small cubby that he let me into at the end of one of the train cars. What a relief!
But with trains being the main mode of transportation for me, I did end up nursing my akanbō a few times on a commuter train. And got nothing but looks of approval from older women. And let’s face it. Nobody likes a crying baby and if nursing in public will quell the cries, then it is The Done Thing!
- gōruden uīku – ゴールデンウィーク Golden Week or these days abbreviated down to “GW”. Three national holidays fall between the span of a week and when you add a weekend in, you get a nice period of vacation. Avoid visiting Japan from abroad during this time because trains between cities can be very crowded.
- densha – 電車 train
- Fukui – 福井 a prefecture in Western Japan in what is called the Hokuriku Region
- Oshōgatsu – お正月 New Year’s
- shinkansen – 新幹線 bullet train
- akanbō – 赤ん坊 baby
- junyūshitsu – 授乳室 nursing room. If you have a nursing baby or toddler, watch out for signs that will lead you to a nursing location. Department stores have quite nice ones.