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Travelers flood train stations, clog roads in holiday exodus

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As someone trying to catch a shinkansen this morning, I concur. Mad panic. Omiyagi shops were being mobbed.

Traffic backed up for 57 kilometers at one point on the Tohoku Expressway stretching from the north of Tokyo to northeastern regions. 

Not exactly a surprise.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Crazy trains.

Business smart is to stagger breaks and holidays. Increase paid vacation allowance, 22 days plus public holidays, for flexible rostering.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Business smart is to stagger breaks and holidays. Increase paid **vacation allowance, 22 days plus public holidays, for flexible rostering. **

trying to break the cultural mindset is like trying to crack granite, common sense, flexibility isnt in the equation

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Traffic backed up for 57 kilometers

this is the part I just cant comprehend, why would anybody want to torture themselves joining that zombie horde. Yes I could understand if there was a death or family emergency, natural disaster, but serious going on holidays!?

14 ( +14 / -0 )

No traffic jam around here, just noisy bloody jet skis.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Staggering company or national holidays doesn't have much to do with the weekend before Obon. It's interesting to note this happens even though these aren't national holidays and many companies do stagger Obon holidays (or leave it up to employees to use paid leave at this time if they want to). It's because Obon is very cultural and historically it was a time to return to ancestral home/graves and welcome back deceased ancestors.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

I took my summer holidays in June-July. Low prices, great weather, got a free flight thanks to mileage.

I guess it's too much to expect a significant number of this country's working population to do something similar?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

"why would anybody want to torture themselves joining that zombie horde."

Because they know that within 24 hours or so they'll be where they want to be for at least a few precious days.

@JeffLee If a significant number of people did as you did, the prices wouldn't be as low and the trains/expressways wouldn't be as uncrowded.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

No traffic jam around here, just noisy bloody jet skis.

ah sorry to hear that, if its any consolation the only noise I have to put up with is the kids making a racket in the pool and the steak sizzling on the BBQ. lol

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Because they know that within 24 hours or so they'll be where they want to be for at least a few precious days. and a week after abon Ill be going somewhere with the family for a few precious days and the hotel is only half full no zombie horde required.

 If a significant number of people did as you did, the prices wouldn't be as low and the trains/expressways wouldn't be as uncrowded. so two weeks a year everybody wants to go to the same place , spread that out over 52 weeks, believe me prices would never rise anywhere near what they charge now for peak season, flexible holidays give the power back to the traveling consumer as airlines / hotels cant charge premium prices all year round.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

If Japan Inc allowed holidays whenever the employee wanted this wouldn't be news.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Missed that by days, happy to escape the Summer madness. Winter holidays will be harder to dodge.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

first of all, telling them to stagger holidays will not work. Just like telling Westerners to celebrate Christmas a week early, they wont.

The trains, yes they are amazing here but the roads are third world. The freeways here are built as if they want traffic jams, strange merges and lanes suddenly decreased, the roads are completely third world...and the tolls are ridiculously expensive too.... I always take a day off before the madness and drive to Nagoya a day early.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

This isn’t just summer vacations, it’s Obon. Suggesting time off be staggered etc is somewhat off the mark. Suppose in the USA for instance, companies told their employees “forget about spending Christmas with your family, we’re staggering winter vacation!” There would be a certain segment that would be just fine with that idea (and there’s always people in certain sectors like nursing who have to work on Christmas anyway), but another bunch would be distraught. And depending on the nature of the business, if other companies were mostly closed, there would be a limit as to how much work could get done. It’s maybe not as simple as it sounds. Some people don’t have a hometown or family to travel to or don’t want to and wouldn’t mind. But it’s an important family time for many.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Econstats, comparing Japan & US transit doesn't do anything for me, both have lots of problems, you identified some of the US ones, in Japan, insane crowding that is  IN-HUMANE! Also trains in Japan don't seem to have invented thermostats yet, the insane hot/cold fluctuations in BOTH winter & summer are BRUTAL!

Thankfully I rarely have to ride the rails in Japan to/from or for work, it is utterly soul destroying, just look at all the zombies on the trains, it is seriously depressing!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Was easy driving through Yamaguchi today. Surprisingly more so than usual!

The noise level in my local though, is deafening!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

All those people waiting on the platform, and none looking at a smartphone. Is this an old photo?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

From day one the companies in Kochi, Nagoya, and Brighton (UK) introduced flexi-time employment schedules/schemes, core hours, staggered start and finish times, to complement our holiday rostering, as part of our commitment to a comprehensive employee engagement morale program.

This has enabled the business to recruit the most outstanding, talented and innovative systems/application/development specialists from a global talent pool, attracting a client base that has invested an additional $150 million to our Japanese business in 2018 alone.

Business smart, requires creative thinking beyond the herd mentality.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Don't forget part of the reason is due to Japan culture of not taking day off or even if they do long breaks are frowned upon.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Companies/organization are reluctant to fully engage with there staff, a duty of care. Implemented effectively the resulting successes and productivity gains are extraordinary.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Shin-Osaka! At least the trip will be smooth.

If they were allowed to take the week off for Obon it would be better, it's not like they're getting paid

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This is what happens in a small island nation with a population of 126 million people and everybody takes their vacation at the same time. It's complete madness!

6 ( +7 / -1 )

first of all, telling them to stagger holidays will not work. Just like telling Westerners to celebrate Christmas a week early, they wont.

nobody is expecting that, but for the J gov to make it compulsory and punishable for employers to make employees take all their annual leave and for them to be able to take it when they like, employers must compensate by hiring extra staff to compensate for when other employees take holidays, power harassment of staff to make them feel guilty for taking such leave should also be severely punished. This wont stop the holiday hordes but itll be a big start.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Yeah i have read the Stagger holiday Idea and may sound good but it would be better if people can leave just a few days apart. This way it would break up how many people are leaving, instead of everyone at once. This way the holiday would be the same just leaving for the holiday would change..

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@Educator60

 Suppose in the USA for instance, companies told their employees “forget about spending Christmas with your family, we’re staggering winter vacation!”

In the US and Western countries, many workers do choose to do that. Christmas is only one day. It's common for people to forgo an extended break at Christmas and to use their holiday time when they choose, not when the state chooses.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Why is it so hard for people on Japan Today to understand that this is not summer vacation! As some have said above, this is the Obon festival, a time that you return to your ancestral home to pay your respects to your family and ancestors. I would compare it more to a pilgrimage than a vacation. Thus the reason everyone travels at the same time. You can't stagger it or have some people go at different times, the whole idea is it is a chance for family members to get together at least once a year. If you start saying people in the Kanto region, you can have your Obon holiday at the beginning of August and and Kansai the end, it defeats the purpose.

I also don't understand why so many foreigners get riled up about this? Or is it just something else to complain about and let people have a false sense of superiority?

T.I.J. people!

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Markx,

Yeah its a pilgrimage of sorts, many also go overseas, so it IS also a holiday.

That said all people have to be ABLE to do is slightly stagger things by say adding a day or 2 before/after the specified Obon period.

Also many DONT get Obon off, I have never had any time off in Aug in the almost 30yrs here, and I am not the only one by a long shot.

Obon, like my namesake, GW & Oshogatsu should all be more flexible so the people of Japan can, get this, are you ready,...…….

ACTUALLY ENJOY THEMSELVES, its not too much to ask!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Why is it so hard for people on Japan Today to understand that this is not summer vacation! ... I would compare it more to a pilgrimage than a vacation. Thus the reason everyone travels at the same time. You can't stagger it or have some people go at different times, the whole idea is it is a chance for family members to get together at least once a year.

So it's similar to Thanksgiving in the U.S. People leave on the weekend before, on the Tuesday before, on the Wednesday before, or on Thanksgiving Day itself. I think that's the kind of staggering to which other posters are referring. It is still more crowded than usual, but not as insane as here in Japan where it seems that everyone in the country leaves on the same day (maybe due to work inflexibility).

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I loathe Obon, it's more trying than New Year, and I hate that so much I go home too avoid it.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Choice, not compulsion.

Obstructing Obon, cancelling Christmas is absurdly unreasonable, counterproductive to defining a balance between business crucial activities/objectives, and resource managing key people numbers.

Surely those Travellers waiting for the shinkansen bullet train at Shin-Osaka Station, also the 37 km queue choking the Sanyo Expressway could be reduced if journey times were staggered and integrated with holiday start finish times, quite rightly paying particular attention to cultural heritage.

If a solution is to be found to halt and reverse depopulation the opportunity exists through flexible working and encouraging the importance of a healthy family home life.

Handcuffing staff to there workstations is really never crossed my mind.

Bribery is a different matter altogether...... ignore, sudden sense of humour rupture.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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