Yesterday was a national holiday, the Seijin no hi, which roughly translates as the coming of age day. It is a day to celebrate all the people that turn twenty during the year, and thus turn into fully fledged adults. In Tokyo it also happened to be the day of one of the biggest snow storms for many many years! Tokyo was thick with snow and on any street you happened to pass you would see cars that were stuck in the sticky snow or cars that were unable to go uphill. I and a couple of other random people who walked past one minivan that was hopelessly stuck managed to get it moving after about 15 minutes of pushing and heaving. Great fun, but not very typical of Tokyo winter weather. Usually you see thousands of beautifully dressed young people but despite spending the day outside I did not see more than a handful, as several train lines had stopped running all subway lines were delayed more or less throughout the day. Here are two beauties that I managed to stop and ask to take a picture of! Normally it isn’t this easy to get people to pose, but I think they realized how special the situation was! As a bonus, the last photo is of a taxi who after struggling for 10 minutes trying to go up the slight incline of a hill decided to turn around and go back instead, it took 3 people the better part of half an hour to get the taxi away! Luckily there was very little traffic on the streets today.
As a continuation on yesterday’s post, here’s a few more kimono beauties that I managed to snap while walking through Shibuya. Not all of them dress up just to visit the shrines, quite a few spend their time hanging out with friends just like they normally do, just much more well dressed! I can’t get enough of them! Unfortunately I only saw one guy in kimono this year, he looked fantastic. I wish I had had my camera ready for him! I still have hundreds of pictures unpublished from last year’s coming of age day though. Will go over some of them in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!
Yesterday was the big Coming of Age Day, the “seijin no hi” (成人の日) which is a public holiday in Japan. It is dedicated to celebrate all the people who will be 20 years old this year and this is one of the most important highlights in any Japanese persons life. Usually cities and town have big ceremonies where they invite young people to take part of inspirational speeches and various ceremonies. It is also a good opportunity for young people to get back together with friends from school that they might not have seen for a year or so after leaving for college. People generally dress up and most people wear the kimono although a lot of men and some women prefer wearing suits or something more personalized. You might remember the tons of other posts I have done on this subject! I didn’t have much time this year so I just took a walk through Harajuku and Shibuya, passing the big Meiji Shrine and getting a few snap shots of the people there. This year it was quite crowded for some reason, but fewer celebrants than usual. Here’s one beauty carefully dedicating a ema plate to the shrine. I also found a ema with some funny wishes, the girl, Haruna, who wrote this (not the one I took a photo of!) hopes that she will become a hairdresser and cut everyone’s hair! She also wants to be bright as a light bulb and she wishes good luck in her studies, particularly her English studies. Good luck Haruna!
More Kimono beauties! Since the Coming of Age Ceremony takes place on a public holiday, and very near the New Year, shrines around Japan are already very crowded. Add to that the 20 year olds and the people like me going out to see them! It’s hard to get proper photos, especially since I don’t like posing people for proper portraits outside of the studio. The common trend in this year’s kimono fashion was more ornamentation, more fur and more expensive looking set ups. Even for Meiji shrine which is mostly visited by people who can afford more elaborate fashions, it was easy to spot the trend from simplicity to full on ornamentation. My guess is that the uncertain economic futures of young Japanese and the generally unfavorable position in society of women, young girls want to make the most of what might well be their only chance of ever dressing up like this. As more and more young people pass up on marriage or the lavish ceremonies that goes with it, it makes sense to make full use of the one ceremony you are guaranteed to be able to enjoy.
And, as many Japanese friends have commented on before, young women are getting better and better at make up. A generation whose youth was spent studying beauty magazines is finally paying off, perhaps?