Seijin no hi 成人の日 and Seijinshiki 成人式 2011

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Seijinshiki Tsukuba, 2011

January 10th, 2010 was a holiday in Japan, Seijin no hi, 成人の日. Better known as “Coming of Age Day” in English, Seijin no hi is a day in Japan to celebrate all of those individuals who turn between April 1st of the previous year and March 31st of the current year. Interestingly enough, these very same dates are used to determine when a child enters school. The public school year begins on April 1st as well. Here in Tsukuba, I was able to catch some of the Seijinshiki or Coming of Age Day Celebration at Capio Hall (a performance/exhibition hall here). Though it was a tad frigid outside, everyone was all smiles.

I saw hundreds of women in their Coming of Age Day best: special hairstyles and furisode, 振り袖, long-sleeved kimonos. These kimonos looked quite different than any I have seen before, and from what I understand some of them are quite expensive. To keep warm, many women had a fur accessories that resembled mufflers. I’m not super big on fur, but they did look pretty cool. The young men were dressed in either suits or traditional hakama, 袴, a men’s formal, divided skirt.

Hakama

My friend Naomi, of the Nikujaga post, told me a little bit about the ceremony, and showed me where it was happening. She also thought it might be a good way to get some Japanese practice in. So, with a bit of moral support, I talked to several groups of women, and a group of slightly more brash/cool guys in hakama, 袴. Some of the women weren’t as friendly as I thought they’d be (I guess have to expect at least a little bit of that with 19 & 20 year olds), but all in all everyone was really cool about taking pictures, etc.

Here are a several more pictures from the Seijinshiki and along with a very short interview of a small group of women a the ceremony. Please keep in mind that my Japanese isn’t the best in the first place, and then being a bit nervous talking to a group of natives didn’t make things any easier…but it was invigorating…I had a great time TRYING to interview people in Japanese.


SEIJIN NO HI, 成人の日 SEIJINSHIKI 成人式 PHOTOS



Donald Ash
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  • http://www.japanwham.com Daniel

    Loved the video and interview Donald!! I’ve read a few blog posts here and there about Seijin no hi, but it was great to see it from the view of a gaijin! Your Japanese was very good – it pays off to be ‘brave’ and try it in public. I bet you were pumped afterwards ^.^

    -D

    • Donald Ash

      Thanks for the comments, Daniel :)
      It was pretty hard walking up to people and trying to ask questions in Japanese, especially considering my Japanese skills aren’t the best. I figure being brave is the only way I’m truly going to pick up the language. You’re right though, I was nervous when I was starting, but I was SUPER pumped afterwards!!

  • Amanda

    Wow, really glad you worked up the courage to make this video!

    Your Japanese must be fine, they seem to understand what your saying, man but I know what you mean. It’s scary to try to speak a foreign language in front of a native speaker. Sometimes I don’t even want to say “Arigato Gozaimasu” when I go shopping, I’ll keep forcing myself to do it though. I also have a roomate who speaks little English so I’ll try my broken Japanese on her, and then maybe she won’t feel self conscious speaking English with me (once she sees how bad my Japanese is that should make her feel better haha).

    • Donald Ash

      LOL:) Work that broken Japanese!

      That’s why I try to be as kind and as open-minded as I possibly can when I’m teaching English to beginning students here in Japan. I know have had my moments where my Japanese was just plain pathetic, but as long as I have a good time doing it, mistakes are just part of the process.

      My Japanese really needs work, but it’s coming. I did practice to myself before just walking up and trying. But I do want to get to that point where I don’t even need to think about it. I think many foreigners start off in a similar fashion. It sometimes takes courage to even use basic phrases. But making mistakes with a Japanese friend or co-worker is great practice…I still use that method.

      Thanks Amanda

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