Thursday, January 16, 2020

Blindfolded - A 'Coming of Age Day' Tale

This one was a little hard to write. There is a beauty to the second Monday of January each year in Japan; it represents the single moment the youth of a nation celebrate their twentieth birthday together; it's the day they Come of Age. From now on (admittedly in theory only) they can drink, sign a contract (and be prosecuted) uninhibited. The women wear beautiful furisode (the ornate, long sleeved kimono worn, traditionally, prior to marrying) and the "guys" opt for a simple black business suit (though, it has to be said, they look a little less comfortable in their new attire than the young woman in theirs). 

Centered around the local community halls across the country, Shibuya Line Cube (which, although recently redeveloped, happens to be the venue for U2's first concert in Japan in 1983 (and you thought you weren't going to learn something this time around)) is a few minutes walk from the main train station, one of the busiest in the world . The day is a wonderful sight to see with the beauty and grace of the young women assembled, for this, their special day; and the young men with their "swagger and poise" laughing with their friends prior to the hall doors opening. This time though, I saw something new to me.

As I stood with crowds, enjoying watching as the new young adults arrived, an unassuming taxi pulled up. A mother stepped from the front passenger seat and walked around to the open rear door, and a grey guide cane emerged from inside. And then a young man, in a light checked suit, the pants an inch short of reaching his white sneakers, and necktie not quite straight, gently emerged. The impression was of someone who had chosen his own outfit and prepared at home for today's ceremony quite deliberately by himself. For me, the most awe-inspiringly beautiful sight of those few moments was the look of slightly understated hidden pride of the young, blind man's parents as he steadily joined his peers amongst the melee and celebrated his "Coming of Age Day".