Quick question! How many days in a week? Seven. Better question! How many work days in a week? Five. Yes, five. No more, sometimes less. When I think of the concept of weekend work, I recall Office Space and doing anything humanly (and inhumanly) possible to avoid it. But Japan? Overtime and weekend work are a beautiful match made in hell.
Lets go back in time a bit. Before weekend work existed in Japan? No. When weekend work was even stronger. So much that there was a popular expression for working every day.
Get ready to see the most depressing Japanese phrase you will ever see.
Or to do the most disgusting translation ever possible:
Monday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Friday.
Just to straighten the record for those who may not know, the typical calendar weeks looks like this:
So they took the existing calendar and cleverly turned Saturday and Sunday into an extra Monday and Friday. Well I guess that’s not so bad, as we’d all like to have an extra Friday… NO. This is madness. Madness! If I saw this calendar I would be done. Forget Mondays. Every day is Monday!
This was an old phrase created in 1908 by the Japanese navy and spread to the rest of the country. The concept was eventually turned into a song which gained popularity in 1940 as it reached the radio waves.
I know by now you are dying to see the lyrics of this song. Well, I’ll do you one better. How about the promotional video with the actual song being sung, with lyrics attached for karaoke style.
Now practice up this song, and sing it for your Japanese friends. Don’t worry, they won’t be your friends for long.
Note: I actually often work weekends. Don’t tell anyone.
Founder of Jalup. iOS Software Engineer. Former attorney, translator, and interpreter. Still watching 月曜から夜ふかし weekly since 2013.