Sunday, January 8, 2017
full of beans
The news and variety shows on Japanese TV today are all showing video clips from the Coming of Age Day (Seijin no Hi ) ceremonies that are being held over the long weekend in cities and wards across Japan. Seijin no Hi is a Japanese holiday held annually on the second Monday of January to celebrate young people who have reached, or will reach, the age of majority (20 years old) between April 1st of the old year and March 31st of the new year.
Turning 20 in Japan means that young people may legally smoke, drink alcohol, and marry without permission from their parents-- and it also means that if they commit crimes, the law will judge them as adults, without the various protections allowed to minors.
Unfortunately, publicly-held Coming of Age ceremonies are not infrequently disrupted and ruined by drunken and disorderly 20-year-olds. Most years I grumble about the current coming-of-age generation and-- fairly or not-- I lament the plummeting manners and sense of "kids these days."
Today, however, I am drawn to how full of beans these rambunctious ceremony-disruptors are. By April, how many of them will be wearing suits and grimly kowtowing to their bosses in personality-stifling work environments? How many of them will be able to hold on to their mischievous inclinations and channel them into socially constructive endeavors?
Today I find myself blessing the newly-20 year-olds, hoping with all my heart that they will survive and thrive and deliver way more than anyone ever expected.