I was befittingly informed that on the day of her Seijinshiki, every girl is a princess!
Seijinshiki is the Japanese for coming of age ceremony. This is something I learnt when one of my friends at university was going to attend her Seijinshiki during my first year in Japan. Traditionally, in the Japanese society, one's 20th birthday is when they officially step into adulthood, and therefore it is an important celebration. What made it essentially significant was the fact that anyone residing in Japan and was coming of age could attend it. I am now about to tell you about one of the most mesmerizing experiences of my life, and my first experience as an adult; my Seijinshiki.
While the ceremony itself was advertent, the preparations not so. Since the Seijinshiki is an integral part of the Japanese culture, it's preparations are quite intense, especially for the women folks who adorn an intricately designed traditional wear called a furi-sode(a long sleeved kimono) and is much more complex and heavier compared to a normal Yukata. No sooner than I had decided to attend my Seijinshiki not only had I to find myself a furisode, but also someone to help me put it on. These seemed quite challenging as: a) A furisode costs a fortune, b) It requires professional to help get it on. With some effort and by being immensely resourceful, I was able to borrow one from a senior, and (PHEW!!) also reserve an affordable salon to help me wear it (some were exorbitantly priced and most were fully booked).
Princess For a Day!
I was befittingly informed that on the day of her Seijinshiki, every girl is a princess! That instantly put me on cloud nine as I imagined myself as the Queen of Sheba - out on a mission of my own. I must solemnly admit that I was indeed made to feel like one; for as I walked down the street to the station, people seemed in awe with the sight of a foreigner dressed in a furi-sode; random strangers came up to me to tell me how beautiful I looked, and they wished me luck for my life ahead. At the ceremony itself, the effort and excitement towards the celebrated day could not go unnoticed. It was much more than a ritualistic ceremony; most of the attendees had planned and prepared for this day for months, if not years.
Finally, we were all adults, and life had truly begun!
Families were present, excited to see their children transition into adults, the avid looks on the faces of siblings signaled how eagerly they looked forward to their own, friends who had grown up together waited impatiently for this day and the accomplished looks on their faces simply reassured that. I longed for my family too; nevertheless, found solace in the presence of my best friend, only to realize later, what a beautiful memory it is to have, to mark and to commence a new chapter in your life with loved ones. Once the ceremony was over, everyone flooded outside to click pictures and the festivities continued for hours. Finally, we were all adults, and life had truly begun!
I am inextricably glad and grateful that I had the opportunity to go through this special occasion in Japan. While I may move out of Japan in the future, I will always be connected to the culture; not simply because I lived here, but because I was able to be a part of the culture myself and commemorate the beginning of an important phase of my life just like any other 20 year old Japanese. It was an imbibing process that has unified me to Japan eternally.
While I may move out of Japan in the future, I will always be connected to the culture