hey there, it's been a while. i started art school and work at a 50% part-time job immediately after my return from Japan, so i didn't get to update this blog as often as i was planning to.
i turned 20 last year, so i have been invited to attend the coming of age ceremony (成人式 "seijinshiki") in Hasuda, because i had spent a few weeks in the kindergarten and primary school there many years ago. since i have missed the one in Switzerland (where people are seen as adults when they turn 18), this seemed pretty convenient.
this ceremony seems to mark one of the most important moments in a Japanese persons life, so there's a lot of excitement beforehand: everything needs to be perfect! it reminds me of the prom craze in the US. the girls buy or rent expensive kimono and accessories. beauty salons open as early as 3 o'clock in the morning to handle those dozens of girls who want to get a perfect do before the ceremony starts at 10 am. parents or other family members are said to be buying video cameras only to record this memorable moment. luckily for me though, all the boys need to do is look handsome in their tuxedos and suits.
so we gathered inside our towns largest hall and cued up to be seated. hundreds of doll-like girls dressed in colorful kimono and shiny hair decorated the cold building. i was very surprised to be greeted by many of my former classmates from the times i went to school in Japan. i could not remember most of their faces and names, but they still did :)
after the ceremony started, there were a lot of speeches, photo-slideshows and performances on stage. the whole thing was really formal, and a very boring lenghty ritual.
then, photosession time. they all lined up for the official class photos, while i had to sneek onto one of them because i didn't belong to any of those classes. meanwhile, every group took pictures of themselves, while each member wanted a picture taken with their own camera. that procedure went on for ages, especially in large groups.
all in all, it was a very interesting experience. also very nice to meet some old classmates again.