It's Golden Week Time again. Golden Week, if you're not familiar, is a set of consecutive holidays in Japan around the beginning of May. It's one of the few times all year that Japanese people actually take off of work. Everyone uses the opportunity to do some traveling and get out and about, but a few things are causing complications this year. First, of course, is the new (swine) flu scare- as far as Japan is concerned, the timing couldn't have been worse, as Golden Week is probably the busiest international travel season of the year. Anyone who's been abroad is going to get extra scrutiny on their way back into the country. Next, as an economic stimulus move, the notoriously expensive highway tolls have been lowered to 1000 yen (10 bucks) for holidays and weekends. So even more than usual, folks are hitting the road and causing massive traffic jams. Personally, I think anything that has people driving more these days isn't the best of ideas, but some people that I've talked to seem much more interested in traveling due to the cheaper highways, so maybe it will have the desired effect.
So where does that leave me? Of course, the school is off for all of the national holidays. So I've got free time. But with the roads, airports, and hotels packed, it's not the best time to be traveling either. That leaves chilling out around home, which is normally just fine with me. But this year, I was invited to go on a trip with some other ALTs to Malaysia. Sounds pretty cool, it would be nice to see a new country and maybe some beautiful scenery. I was invited to go on a Sunday, and the rates all seemed pretty reasonable. But by the time that I actually decided to go through with the trip, on Tuesday, the airfare had gone up 2 man ($200)... not cool. A bummer, but for a shorter trip, I just couldn't do it. Other places I looked at like Taiwan and Korea were just going to be too expensive during the holiday rush. So that leaves me back at home. I've been catching up on sleep, and cleaning up too, doing all of the scrubbing and stuff that I don't care to do during a regular workweek. I'm starting to get things organized for packing too, because moving is just around the corner. Not going to Malaysia has me pretty bummed, but I'm trying to get other stuff accomplished at least.