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Are holidays a "dirty" word in Japan?


7 Apr 2003

I have heard that office workers in Japan take far fewer holidays each year than their Western Counterparts. I live in the UK and I would say that the average holiday period each year for workers is 5 weeks, what is the average in Japan? For those of you living and working in Japan, how much holiday have you taken in the past year? How many hours in average do people work each day in Japan, it was a surprise to me to see that the rush hour on the underground was around 9pm versus 6ish in the UK!

I live and work in a small village, so vacation time is a lot more used than in the big city. I am also a special case, so I can take vacation any time I want (max 25) as long as it doesn't mess up the work schedule too much. That said, even here there is not a free and easy attitude towards vacation. I still must check with three different people before I get the final okay, and even then I try and take it only when I am sure it will not put anyone out. In more competitive workplaces vacation is basically a no-no. My finace doesn't take vacation and even when she has a day off she will go into work to get ready for the next day (she works odd hours as a cram school teacher). Add on to that that she is a woman (obviously) and thus must work two times harder than any male simply to get the respect she she should be given anyway and that equal no vacation (she hates it by the way). Go to a different company you say? Nothing would change (fume fume). Anyway, yes, you are right, vacations are not a big thing in Japan. If they are taken, people usually try and combine them with national holidays by only tacking on a day or two. The result is Japan goes on vacation, prices go up, and travel is no fun. Thus, travel in the off-season!
Are holidays a "Dirty" word in Japan????

How dare you use such disgusting language in this forum!

Sorry! My terrible joke aside, Japan has more public holidays than most countries due to the number of festivals throughout the year, so I guess in some ways, holiday is not a dirty word. Some people actually go into work at the weekend to make up for the day off they had for public holiday though (although I think they are nuts!)

Right now I have been on holiday for two months, but this is because I'm waiting to start a new job soon. It sounds great, but actually it sucks. I can't wait to go back to work again!

Legally Japanese full-time workers get at least two weeks a year. Practically speaking, aside from national holidays, I'd say people *might* be taking two weeks a year but it's very rare to take more than a week at a time. Most of my friends get a lot of vacation -- more than I get in the USA -- but circumstances are such that they can't actually take all the time off to which they are entitled.
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