I don`t recall the details of my coming of age other than it was welcomed in an intoxicated stupor. Here I remained for several years following just to ensure I was acting like an adult, or the ones in my family anyway. Reaching the legal drinking age of 21 was the sole arbiter of adulthood where I was raised. The Japanese, on the other hand, celebrate coming of age- at 20- with more pomp and circumstance, and primp, to be enjoyed in various venues.
The second Monday of every January is Coming of Age Day, Adult Day, or Seijin no Hi. Fellows, this is an ideal time to visit Japan if your interest leans toward the ladies as all female 20 year old`s don a stunning kimono and totter around town for the Coming of Age ceremonies held in shrines and city halls.
I chose my go-to shrine, Meiji, to see the procession.
Unlike the American version of the kimono made out of polyester with a tie belt and bought at Kmart, these are heavy silk with several layers of varying designs. Cinched by the obi belt wound around the waist several dozen times in order to keep everything tucked tight. The equivalent of bound feet only in a full body version.
These elegant girls made me feel like an elephant trumpeting around the shrine grounds hair, clothing and camera all akimbo.
Notice the stark white tabi socks with the kimono. I thought Nike tres original when the split toe shoes debuted several years ago. Not so avant-garde as it appeared but I now know the Asian inspired fabric was an homage to the shoes` origins.
I spotted one guy out of the entire crowd. The male kimonos all look similar- if not the same- as the one below. Or that`s what I`m claiming, as he was the only one I saw. I did see a Facebook picture of a friend`s similarly kimono`d son. I`ve seen it twice, therefore, it must be so.
The girls shuffled toward the shrine on the gravel paved entrance assisted by moms and boyfriends. Facing a fire while wearing a kimono would be truly terrifying. Between the socks, the zori sandals and several layers of tightly bound kimono, no one gets anywhere quickly. No wonder the ladies happily shed it once Western clothing was introduced.
Meiji Shrine changed it`s ema (wooden plaques where prayers are written to be hung in the shrine) to reflect the year of the dragon. The old version is at the top of this page. Just thought you might be interested as it strays from my point.
This is a brilliant marketing ploy by Disney at it gives the crowds something to enjoy while waiting 3 hours per ride.
Next up- a couple more New Year`s traditions.