Today was the last day of this year’s Golden Week holidays. It is a national holiday although not really a holiday if that makes sense. Today is only a holiday because the first “real” holiday of Golden Week – Constitution Day on May 3rd – fell on a Sunday and was thus lost to the general populace. In such a case, the holiday will be made up for on Monday, or, if this is already a holiday, on the first non-holiday in the week. Which means: today. Somewhat complicated, yes, but once the Japanese settle on a cause of action they pull through with it. And thus, there have been people on holidays since at least last Saturday.

Not everybody though: I have received letters as usual, the large shops and restaurants in my area  were open, and the facility next to my house – that has something to do with garbage collection I think – was operating normally, company wide open-air workouts included. On the other hand, many of the smaller shops were closed, and the little girl who cannot play outside without regular high-pitched cries of “Okaasaaan, Okaaasaaaan” (mummy) that increase in audible panic the longer they take, must have been shipped off to some place far enough to be inaudible, for the time being, at least.

I spent Golden Week working, more or less. Mostly I was busy giving my apartment a thorough deep cleaning for the first time since I moved in. Of course, I had cleaned the bathroom and kitchen within the first week already, but only now did I finish scrubbing all the hard floors, vacuum all the tatami, and clean all those hard-to-reach places like lampshades (which are mostly plastic here) and the top of curtain rails. Altogether, since moving in, I spent 7 hours cleaning those 10 m^2 of kitchen that I have – yes, it was really that disgusting! – and maybe another 5 hours on the whole rest of the apartment. Right now it is so pristine, I’d prefer to not move at all, just so that it stays that way… oh well, at least from now on it’s just maintenance.

Yesterday afternoon, as it was such a nice day, I went exploring my neighborhood, sat on this part of the river for a while and had an ice cream or two while collecting my thoughts about my new company website.

a page from my Japanese dictionaryAnd today, I spent the afternoon writing a letter to my Japanese pen pal, in both German (which she is trying to learn) and in Japanese (which I am trying to learn). This is always a rather painful thing to do, as I want to write semi-interesting stories related to my life in Japan, which is not something my language ability is really able to support yet. So I am sitting there amongst all my Japanese books trying hard to write something more exciting than “It was nice weather today…”