Adults’ Day (i.e. kimono watching)

So last Monday was a holiday that snuck up on me. Adults’ Day (2nd Monday in January) Had I looked ahead I might have realized that we had 4 three-day weekends in a row(!), but instead this was just a nice surprise.  It’s a day when everyone who turned 20 in the last year celebrates adulthood, in part by dressing up to go to the temples, we were told. So Tara and I trekked out to Asakusa’s Senso-ji temple.  (It was a toss-up between Asakusa and Meiji shrine, but only one of those has the custard fish (video) that Tara is so enamored of… so it wasn’t really much of a choice in the end. 🙂

It was packed!

Carried along with the crowd

Welcome kitty

Up near the entrance to the temple proper, they had fellows with bullhorns telling the crowd how to enter in an orderly manner, but out here it was every elbow-bearing person for themselves.

Cloud of incense

the temple swarm

Huge stack of white sake casks on the left as donations

Tara and I made it this far on our own, but decided not to brave the crowds further to enter. We moved over to a side entrance and waited for the promised kimono-wearing adults to appear.

Daring the smoke clouds for a pose

There were fewer than I’d expected, perhaps because we slept in… I saw no men dressed even in noticeable weekend GQ-wear. But there were two noticeable groups of women in kimonos– those with packs of girlfriends and those with boyfriends.

Shoulder wraps for warmth, and of course, fabulousness

Out with the girls... er, ladies

Most of these kimonos and outfits are quite the to-do.  At dinner the other day, I was overhearing a group of women at the table next to me complaining that not only do even cheap kimonos set you back nearly $1000, but they can’t really be rented for less than $500.  Also, they’re not exactly something you get someone to zip you into. So there are salons that specialize in getting you looking amazing, head to toe:

Oh the hair

There was a much smaller demographic… people carrying their pooches through the temple.  Well-dressed dogs are a dime a dozen here, but I’ve never seen them carried into temples before. Either I just wasn’t looking right, or the dogs were turning 20….

Anyway, once they exited stage right, there was a small fortune-stall where you shake a tin of sticks, pull one out, and use the number on the stick to pull your fortune from a series of boxes. This is definitely a group activity and sent many of the women flocking right to the small Buddha statue nearby.  (Can’t be too safe, especially when you’ve just spent what they did!)   Anyway, welcome to the new adults and good luck!

Reading fortunes en masse



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1 Response to Adults’ Day (i.e. kimono watching)

  1. Calley says:

    It’s a good thing the kimono caveat was right up front, as I momentarily thought this was going to be another sex-toys-in-the-grocery-store post 😉

    I have to say, it also seems decidedly out of character that a festival celebrating one’s transition to adulthood would be presided over by a giant and rather solemn-looking paper kitten. But, to each culture their own 😉 And it certainly looks like more fun than the prom or high school graduation! Those kimonos are totally fabulous 🙂

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