Happy Coming of Age Day (成人の日, Seijin no hi)! There are many strange official holidays in Japan: kids day (formerly boys day), sports and health day, for example. But Coming of Age Day is special– not only is all official business closed, but there’s the opportunity to see 20 year old’s dressed in their gaudy finest.
For girls just turning 20 years old, it’s an opportunity to look like a slightly late Christmas tree: teased hair piled high, with plastic flower ornaments, pink and neon kimonos, faux white fur stoles with glitter, fancy nails. For boys, there’s the classy kimono look and the more popular host look: shiny suit, and big permed hair.
Some of the activity should take place in a temple or shrine. However, I saw dozens strolling in Nakano Broadway, take sticker photos, and showing off hair do’s. The best guy hair-dos I saw include blue-grey hair and one red-and-yellow mix.
I wasn’t sure what to say. Congratulations?! Now you can legally drink? You’re old enough to have carnal relations with adults? Could that hair be any bigger? The husband suggested I say nothing, and I obeyed.
I did have a fantasy of spotting in the crowds Mickey Rourke, with his bloated plastic surgery face, dressed up as a coming-of-age 20 year old. Are there other ojisan and obasan who take advantage of the holiday to pretend they are coming of age? I guess I have a few more years to plan my holiday outfit.