BootsnAll Travel Network

Archive for January, 2007

« Home

Coming of Age

Tuesday, January 9th, 2007

In Japan, there is a national holiday in the beginning of January called “The coming of age day” or as known to the Japanese, “seijin no hi.” In fact, that was yesterday. This is usually the day before everybody goes back to work after their New Years holidays and as for me, the day before I go back to school to teach the third school term, the last and shortest school term of the school year. Anyway the point is, holiday on a Monday and therefore a 4 day work week!

Every year, Japanese people celebrate the “coming of age” of people turning 20 years old, the entry to adulthood. I guess for us Americans, 21 is the magic number and for Japanese young people, that number is a nice round 20. I guess it makes more sense that way since you’re going from the 10s to the 20s. It makes more sense than the random 21 or 19 in the States and Canada. Turning 20 in Japan means you can drink and smoke but for a country like Japan for how much they drink and smoke, I don’t think it’s any thing new they haven’t tried already! There’s one aspect about this day I really like and it’s the fact that you KNOW who the 20 years old are walking around the city. On this day, girls wear their traditional Japanese garment, the “kimono” and guys well…they just wear suits most of them so nothing really special. In some respect, I really like it because it’s a traditional and prevalent aspect of the holiday that foreigners can see and understand quite easily. Other holidays in Japan are just another day off, no different than any day on the weekends. You can tell these girls took a lot of time putting themselves together from head to toe. From the hair all the way down to the special type of shoes they’re wearing. Personally, I just think Japanese girls wearing kimono are very beautiful. I think it’s something a foreigner can’t really pull off. I saw some Caucasian girls wearing kimono because she’s probably being raised in Japan and she’s turning 20 this year but somehow I just felt the kimono doesn’t suit them. It just looks better on Japanese girls. I don’t know what you call that, inherent stereotype?

It was a nice day to walk around Tokyo to see all these different kimonos and different colors. It made Tokyo and Japan a much brighter and colorful city that day! BTW, I don’t know those girls in the picture, I just snapped away. There were many camera actions that day anyway, I don’t think they mind if I snapped a shot of their nice kimonos.