Becoming an Adult in Japan (日記 #21)


Here’s another post! It’s a 2017 miracle. I’ve finally started writing about what happened in November. I’m still 2 months behind but small progress is better than nothing.

Today’s post will be about how I spent my birthday in Japan. On 11/6/2016 I turned 20 years old in Japan. For Japanese people this is one of the most important ages because 20 is when they become an adult. This is typically a huge milestone which is punctuated by attending the seijin-shiki or “coming of age” ceremony which will typically happen within the first week of January. At that time all of the people who turned 20 in the previous year will return to their hometowns and reunite with the classmates and friends that they grew up with. In the ceremony they might have messages from their old teachers and other performances. Typically females will wear a kimono and males will wear a suit that will most likely become their suit that they will use for job hunting soon after.

Initially when I was making my plans to study abroad in Japan for a year one of the things I really wanted to do was somehow participate in a coming of age ceremony. Technically I could have since I received an invitation from the government for the city that I was living in. I thought I would at least rent a kimono and take photos but in the end I didn’t want to go through the effort and expense. Maybe I will regret it later but that is the decision I made.

Anyways. I got really sidetracked. What did I do for my birthday. For my birthday most of my friends were busy because they either had other plans or were still on their trips because this was the last day of the long weekend that we had for our Kansai excursion. But one of my friends was free so we went to Shimokitazawa to eat lunch. We got lost for quiet a while because I chose the wrong train station exit. We eventually ended up at a sandwich place for lunch. That was pretty good. She even gave me a card and a present which was an unexpected surprise.

After we ate lunch we decided to leave the area because we had already pretty much explored everything while I got us lost. I can’t remember if we ended up stopping anywhere else before we headed home.

My host family was going to have a birthday dinner for me so I wanted to make sure I was home kind of early. It was really nice because they decorated the dining room for me.

Dinner was temaki, handrolled sushi at the kids request which was fine with me. It was such an extensive spread and it just shows how lucky I am to have been placed with such a great host family.

If that great dinner wasn’t already enough they also got me a really nice ice cream cake from Baskin Robbins (which they call “thirty-one” in Japan).

 And if that wasn’t enough they also got me really nice and thoughtful gifts and made me a really nice handmade card.
I wasn’t sure how my birthday was going to go since the last two birthdays I spent at school and away from home as well. This was definitely way nicer than when I was at Willamette because I actually did something special. Very grateful for my friends and host family for doing all this to help me celebrate my birthday!

No longer a teen and starting my second decade of life! Let’s gooooo.

Thanks for reading!

❤ Kira


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