Friday, 8 February 2008

Nani ka nomimashoo! (Let's drink something!)


After looking at some of MSN's 'The Week in Pictures' archives, during my birthday week (January 10th-17th), I came across a celebration in Japan for young women, which I am SO grateful for coming across it this year and not next year. It's called Seijin no Hi or Coming of Age Day. It takes place on January 15th for Japanese women coming into adulthood at the age of 20. Basically, they get gifts from the community, blistered feet and they get drunk off their faces but I'm a big asian culture buff so I'm going to elaborate, for Japan's sake.
Billy Hammond wrote a small piece on Seijin no Hi and I am just going to quote him.
"January 15th is a Japanese national holiday which honors young people who have reached, or who will reach, the age of 20 during the current year. Twenty is the age of majority in Japan, and people who have reached this age are subject to adult laws and gain the right to vote in elections as well as to drink.
Local governments usually have a ceremony known as a seijin shiki (adult ceremony)to honor the "new adults". The ceremony is generally held in the morning and all of the young adults maintaining residency in the area are invited to attend. Government officials give speeches, and small presents are handed out to the new adults.
Women celebrate the day by donning furisode kimono, which are kimono in which the portions which hang from the sleeves are long as compared to the kimono with shorter sleeve portions worn by mature, married women. Some women will add hakama (baggy pantaloons) to the ensemble. Most young wom[e]n cannot put on a kimono themselves, and go to a kimono kitsuke who dresses them. They also go to a hair stylists to have their hair set the day before or early in the morning. Many women rent their kimonos because of the cost of buying one. A Japanese kimono can cost as much as a new car, so this is quite understandable.
The majority of young men don business suits, although once in a while men wearing dark-colored kimonos can be seen. Needless to say, the expense is far less for the young men than the women.

After the ceremony, the young adults often gather in groups and go to parties or go out drinking. Young women not used to wearing the slippers known as zori can often be seen limping as the afternoon wears on and evening approaches. Later in the evening, it is not unusual to see wobbly young adults staggering in the trains, heading happily home after a day of celebration."

*SWOONS*I better start saving up for my kimono (and plane ticket) because I REALLY have to be there for my 20th next year! Don't you think? How 'Kawaii' is a Seijin?

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