Hatachi! Posted on October 12th, 2010 by

Hatachi is a very exciting thing for most Japanese. It means 20 years old, and 20 is the legal age over here. People who turn 20 this year also get a special ceremony in January called Seijin no Hi, or Coming of Age Day. Girls usually get to wear very beautiful kimonos and stuff.

Why such a big deal? I turned 20 over the weekend! Of all the perks of being considered an “adult”, I’m actually most excited about wearing a kimono on Coming of Age Day. But that is a ways off still so I won’t dwell on it.

Over the weekend I also got to see Phantom of the Opera. In Japanese. It was one of the “trips” for the IES group so a whole bunch of us got to see it. The sets were impressive and I really loved the costumes. The singing was really nice as well and the effects were awesome. I guess I understood about 70% of it (singing is actually kind of hard to understand sometimes). I can’t really compare it to the American version considering I’d never seen it before but I liked it.

Though surprisingly, I found cultural differences where I wasn’t looking. There were actually some rather funny parts and us IES students, a whole block of mostly American students, were giggling or snickering at some parts, but the Japanese audience didn’t react at all. They were silent for pretty much the entire thing. I was thinking that maybe some of the humor didn’t translate well into Japanese, but if this was going to be performed for a Japanese audience in the first place then why didn’t the translator do anything about it? I dunno, I might be thinking too much. But it is interesting.

Oh, and at the end, there was just applause. If you’ve ever been to a musical in the US then you know very well that you usually cheer like crazy for your favorite parts/the lead characters. When we noticed that none of the Japanese audience was doing that, we refrained from doing so also and instead just exchanged some confused looks.

I also got to see the opera La Boheme, since my host brother was performing (albeit as an extra) in it. I thought that was really impressive also, but the audience for this performance was completely different from the one I saw the day before. This audience was cheering loudly and multiple times I heard BRAVO! and so on. Maybe the people who saw Phantom of the Opera that day was just uptight! Haha.

Anyway, still have some homework I need to get done. Until next week!



  1. Bernie Cole says:

    Happy Belated Birthday, Jasmine!! I didn’t know about the coming of age day celebration, so I’m learning something new. To wear a fancy kumino will be cool. Will they also put your hair up in the tradition style, do they still do the thong shoes? when is it going to be held? So for the questions, but am curious.

  2. Jasmine Bernhardt says:

    Thank you, Bernie! :)

    The celebration is on the 10th of January, and of course I get to wear the traditional shoes and put my hair up nicely! My host family loves kimonos so I don’t doubt they will go all out.