I am starting my summer vacation. Huzzah!
The Chinese calendar suggests that today is the first day of autumn, though. I wonder how long the tradition can edure with the global climate changes that punch us in the nose every year challenging the claim of autumn begins August 7. I mean, it is a hot swamp in the Kanto plain of Japan now.
Well, my thoughts shall not be on the weather.
My vacation will be for a week. Somewhat long, but busy, I am sure, and that will make it fly by. Why will I fill my vacation with busy things? I should relax and let things pass by for a week. I guess plenty of time for rest in the grave.
My students would say it is O-bon (pronounced "oh-bone") vacation. O-bon is the Japanese equivalent of Halloween (minus the costumes and candy [and fun?]). The tradition is to mark a time when the living pay respects to the dead. People visit ancestral graves which contain bones and ashes (they usually burn their dead in Japan as per Buddhist tradition [and there isn't a whole lot of space on the island]). Some incence gets burned, the grave gets cleaned, silent prayers are offered, and the traditionalists invite the spirits to come to their house.
The spirits of the departed stay at the family domicile for a week. Some families provide a mini house for the stay (about the size of a large Barbie house, sans the furniture and trappings) and get fed some treats (healthy things; no mini-Snickers bars). After the stay, the spirits are coaxed to go back to the grave and life of shopping for Louis Vuitton bags, playing Nintendo DS, crooning out ballads at karaoke and piling into trains to fill them to 150% capacity to head to work for their twelve hours of labor.
Halloween is so much simpler.
So I have my break now and will be finishing up my short story called The Trouble with T-Rex. I worked on it for about three hours yesterday and I like where it's going.
Another question comes to mind. I sometimes argue with my British colleagues that the English made the language but Americans perfected it. I know, it is a bold claim. But look at the word vacation. It comes from middle French meaning freedom from something. That is what the people of the Stars and Bars say. Across the puddle, the British say holiday. Now holiday is a derivative of "holy day."
Which makes more sense? I have a vacation (i.e. freedom from work, school, whatever). I have a holiday (a day of a religious nature which brings me closer to the almighty).
The Brits argue that for them, the time off is religious and spiritual. I smugly grin and think, "Yeah, nice try."
Whether it is a vacation or holiday, I am relishing the fact that I don't have to work and can focus on writing.