Today is Seijin no hi, Coming of Age Day, in Japan. Until recent years this national holiday fell on January 15 but it’s now celebrated on the second Monday of the month. Twenty is the age of majority in Japan; the age at which a young person can begin smoking, drinking and voting. Though they legally come of age on their birthday, local governments hold special ceremonies on Seijin no hi to honour all those who have turned or will turn twenty during the current school year which runs from April to March. During the ceremony, local officials give speeches and those who are being honoured receive small gifts. This is a very formal occasion. Young men usually wear suits and women often dress in kimono. Parties with friends often follow the ceremony.
We went into Tokyo after church yesterday to have lunch with Matt and Robin’s friend, Kumiko, who is visiting from Kyoto. Though it’s not unusual to see a few women out and about in kimono, we saw many more than usual yesterday. Kumiko told us that families were probably celebrating the coming of age of their children.
For us, today is just another work day. We often work on national holidays and receive other days off in lieu.