The second Monday in January is an important day for young Japanese. It's Coming-of-Age Day. They are officially recognized as being an adult. The day is a national celebration for all the boys and girls who turned twenty years old the year before. In Japan, the legal age of being an adult is twenty.
The newly-minted adults are recognized by the city government. Each city usually has a special gathering for them. Invitations are sent out ahead of time and an official party is held. The parties and events are different from city to city. Chiba, for example, holds its Coming-of-Age Day party at Tokyo Disney.
Wearing special kimonos is an important part of the day. Young women want to look their best on this day.
Young men and women get together for parties. It's a chance to meet up with old high school and junior high school pals they may not have seen since graduation. It's a time to reflect on what their lives were like before, and to take stock of their plans for the years ahead. Now that they are adults, they have responsibilities to perform and careers to attend to.
In America, turning sixteen is a milestone. It's the age you can legally drive by yourself. It's the beginning of your independence. But I like the idea of being recognized as an adult. It's a moment of being welcomed to society. You've taken your first step into a larger world.