On the afternoon of 25 April, the Lower House of Parliament passed an amendment to the nation’s Holiday Act which includes a new public holiday Mountain Day (Yama no Hi). The next step involves the amendment to go into deliberation in the Upper House where it is expected to be approved again.
Although this comes as welcome news to the nation’s tired workers, Japanese holidays tend to be arbitrary affairs named after random things like the ocean. This time, though, Japan’s newest holiday is name after something truly special. Still, I can’t help but be surprised how many fans of Mountain there are in Parliament…
According to the amendment, Mountain Day is intended “to give opportunities to get close to mountains and to appreciate the benefits of mountains.”
We can’t help picturing these guys whenever we hear “Mountain Day,” though…
Mountain, of course, was a hard rock power trio largely active during the ’70s and headed by guitarist and singer Leslie West. Few are aware that Mountain is currently touring and recording with their latest album being 2007’s Bob Dylan Cover album, Masters of War, so this move by the Japanese government is exactly this kind of awareness that I assume the new holiday – planned to start in 2016 – is trying to raise.
Once the amendment is passed, Mountain Day will be Japan’s 16th civic holiday. It will be celebrated on 11 August. The Obon season generally takes place during August wherein many workers take their paid vacations, but this will be the first time an actual public holiday falls during the month. Once Mountain Day is enforced, June will become the only month in Japan without an official public day off. Boo, June!
Also, if the amendment goes through as planned, this will be the fourth holiday celebrating musical success after Green Day (Midori no Hi / 4 May) honoring the pop punk rockers out of California, Sports Day (Taiiku no Hi / Second Monday of October) celebrating Huey Lewis’ chart-topping 1983 album, and Culture Day (Bunka no Hi / 3 November) highlighting great achievements of androgyny in pop music.