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  • Writer's pictureKomaba Times

Be Careful of "Shigatsu-Byo" & "Gogatsu-Byo" in Spring!


Photo by Eviatar Bach, Wikimedia Commons

Spring is a beautiful season. It gets warm and you can enjoy seeing beautiful flowers like cherry blossom. But there is also sickness for especially college students that they must be careful of in spring. That is "Shigatsu-byo" and "Gogatsu-byo".

"Shigatsu-byo" means April sickness. It is not an official illness but Japanese college students usually use this word as slang. The symptoms are you feel too highly motivated and tend to try something too eagerly. For example, a college student with April sickness will want to take many courses or make too many plans which he usually won’t be able to follow up on. April sickness is a little similar to being Manic. April sickness may be based on Japanese annual customs in this season. April is considered the start of new life to many Japanese people with entrance ceremonies, start of new semester or company entrance ceremonies. So many people, especially freshmen have big expectations or high motivations for the new stage of their lives.

April sickness often results in May sickness called “Gogatsu Byo.” This sickness is widely known but is not an official name. The symptom of May sickness is similar to that of depression. If you get May sickness, you cannot keep high motivation or sleep well and feel weary. For example, a college student who was highly motivated and registered for many courses in April may gradually find the workload to be a burden and may not feel motivated to study hard.

The main reason why many students get May sickness is that they cannot adapt to the new environment and feel stress or tired and accumulate frustration or fatigue not only physically but also mentally. Moreover, the motivation of most students often gradually decreases from April to May but they have to continue their tasks or plan which they committed to in April. May sickness tends to develop from the second week of May. This is related to the holidays in Japan. There are four public holidays from the end of April to the start of May, so most college students do not go to college. After this short break, some students cannot revert back to the academic life and develop May sickness.

As you see, these two sicknesses are partly connected to Japanese custom. It may make these two sicknesses’ name interesting in a sense. However, people with May sickness may suffer from that sickness for a long time and have trouble recovering from it. In order to prevent from getting April sickness or May sickness, there are several ways. It is important not to impose excessive burden or stress on yourself. You need to communicate with other people, sleep well and understand how much work you can do in the long term before committing to everything.

Originally posted on May 23, 2016

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