“I’m off work tomorrow to play The Legend of Zelda.”

Tears of the Kingdom, the latest installment of the popular “Legend of Zelda” game from Nintendo, was released on May 12. On Twitter, there was a flurry of tweets from people who concentrated on playing this game on the day of its release, reporting that they were on “paid leave for Zelda”.

There is a widespread trend in Japan to take a day off on the days that major video games are released. It’s called “a day off for games.” “Monster Hunter Vacation” and “Pokemon Vacation” were popular in the past.

This is very welcome news. This is because, until around 2000 in Japan, “work should not be missed for any reason.” Employees were not allowed to miss work even if they had a cold, fever, or flu (unthinkable today!). The boss’s words to the employee were, “You are not enthusiastic enough; that’s why you catch a cold. Come to work early.”

The only reason for which they were allowed to take paid leave was the funeral of a family member or relative. A worldly-wise person took a vacation well by pretending that an imaginary relative had died. In the company, it was whispered, “He has a lot of relatives who die.”

Nowadays, paid time off for any reason is often granted. In addition, we do not have to tell the company why you need a leave of absence. Paid leave is a leave granted to workers to recover from physical and mental fatigue and to ensure a comfortable life.

People have come to value their personal lives more than their professional lives, taking time off work to enjoy watching the World Cup or World Baseball Classic or taking time off work to play a newly released game to the fullest. And companies have come to understand the need for time off for hobbies. Finally, Japan has become a country where one can take a moderate amount of vacation time.

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