In Japan, adult age is over 20 years old. We cannot drink alcohol or smoke before turning 20 years old. As you can imagine, we don’t turn 20 at same time, but we have a day to celebrate it together. It’s a public holiday and the first generation to turn 20 customarily celebrates on the same day.
It is set for the 2nd Sunday of January. Every region has its own big ceremony which is a little different from each other. For example, let’s compare my home town with Tokyo Disney Resort. In my hometown, coming of age is celebrated in a hall and there is only a small stage for speeches and no chairs. People normally stand, listen to some speeches and talk with old friends, so it’s rather casual. However, in Tokyo Disney Resort, the ceremony is held at a theatre. It includes some performances and shows of Disney characters, so there are usually many chairs.
On this day, people who are celebrated, especially girls, have many things to prepare. Normally, girls wear Kimonos. It is one of their dreams and also their mothers’ dreams, because their mother celebrated and bought or made their own kimonos which they often later give to their daughters. That’s why this day could be special even for mothers. I also wore my mother’s Kimono. There are many patterns of Kimonos, so looking at and comparing each other’s Kimonos is interesting. Furthermore, not only putting a Kimono on but also applying make-up, may take many hours. In my case, that day I got up at 5 am and went to a hair salon to dress up in a Kimono and have my hair done which took 2 hours. Moreover, I had a one-minute speech. I talked to my generation about our futures; my topic was ‘Don’t stop thinking.’ Living without thinking enables us to do things effortlessly, but we can get extra ideas for life if we keep thinking. Few people paid attention to my speech but it gave me a good opportunity to think about our and my life.
After the ceremony, we normally have high school or junior high school parties at the night. Girls change Kimonos to cute dresses. We meet many old friends and reminisce on our school life. It’s quite a memorable night. In addition, we can restart to be in contact with some friends and that we didn’t get along with when we were students.
My coming of age ceremony was absolutely memorable for me and I’ll never forget it.