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Tweet of the Week #79: Golden Week 2020 Downgraded to Gaman Week

The gold has completely faded from Japan's week-long vacation. Guess we'll just stay home and sleep.

By 3 min read

In workaholic Japan, Golden Week is a highly anticipated string of holidays that everyone awaits with giddy excitement. Combined with the weekend, four simultaneous national holidays come together to make Japan’s busiest vacation season where we can all finally breathe and relax. Traffic jams, crowded airports, and endless lines for every tourist site are usually on the program.

From platinum week to… faded gold

In 2019, we got an upgraded platinum week with extra days off thanks to the abdication of Japan’s former emperor and subsequent start of a new era in the Japanese calendar—Reiwa. We already knew 2020’s Golden Week wouldn’t be as long as last year’s, but then COVID-19 came along and slapped us all down to… less than gold.

With the authorities calling for people to stay home to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus, most folks sadly canceled their long-awaited vacay. Flight and train reservations nosedived and sightseeing spots and ryokans have been left deserted.

Since people are holding back instead of venturing out, Golden Week or GW, is now being referred to as Gaman Week.




Good morning. The weather is nice today. It’s Gaman Week. Let’s spend time at home. You don’t really want to do such a thing, right? But if you don’t do it, it’s dangerous. Be wise and do something good for yourself. Good luck today! Shoo shoo! Thanks!

If you’re new to Japan, gaman is an essential life skill you should definitely master to blend into Japanese society. The term comes from Japanese Zen Buddhism and means “enduring the seemingly unbearable with patience and dignity.”

In other words, swallow the pill to protect the (peace/harmony) with other folks. Your colleague chews on his pencil? Gaman. Nihongo jouzu-ed for the hundredth time? Ga-man.

Joking aside, the pandemic is showing us that we should all gaman for the greater good. Cultivate new skills (hello Kanji Cheat Sheet), binge Netflix or find ways to experience Japan from home.




Golden Week is apparently called Gaman Week, but we as a couple, hate crowds and spend our GW at home every year, so it doesn’t change. This year too, we’ll eat delicious food at home.

Using と for conditionals in Japanese

One function of the particle is to express the conditional for outcomes or consequences that are constant such as if you add one plus one, it’ll make two. This particular form of conditional is used to talk about natural phenomenons and usual or planned actions. You can easily translate it as “if/when/whenever… this happens.”

  • Verb plain form +
  • Nouns, adjectives だ+と

よるになるとさむくなる = It gets cold when night falls.

The negative form is also easy.

しないとあぶない = If you don’t do it, it’s dangerous.

How are you planning to enjoy your days off this year? We hope you aren’t considering working instead and enjoy the time at home!


ゴールデンウィーク (GW) gooruden uiiku (GW) Golden Week (GW)
天気てんき yoi tenki Good weather
我慢がまんウイーク gaman uiiku Patience, endurance week
自宅じたく jitaku at home
ごす sugosu spend time
体裁ていさい teisai for show, for appearance
良いこと oi koto good thing
したくない shitakunai don’t want to do
あぶない abunai dangerous
かしこくたち kashikutachi wise
mukau go toward, face
がんば ganba go for it, keep at it


gaishutsu jishyuku (self) restrain from going out
私達わたしたち夫婦ふうふ watashi tachi fuufu Us (as couple)
人混ひとご hitogomi crowd
きら kirai dislike, hate
毎年まいとし maitoshi every year
いえ ie ni at home
わる kawaru change
今年ことし kotoshi this year

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