Keirou no Hi – Respect for the Aged Day
Today, the third Monday of September is Keirou no Hi (敬老の日/ Respect for the Aged Day) in Japan. Until 2002, it was on the 15th of September but since 2003, it changed to the third Monday of September.
According to the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, 58,820 Japanese people are more than 100 years old at the day of the 15th of September in 2014. This is 4,423 more than the last year´s survey and the 87%, 51,234 are women.
And the oldest man in Japan is Sakari Momoi and he celebrated his 111th birthday this February.
There are 29,357 Japanese people will become 100 years old by the end of this year including those who live overseas. My grandmother´s eldest sister has become 100 years old this year too. In the last few years, she always comes to see my grandmother during the New Year by saying, “this year might be the last one”. But being nearly 100 years old, despite of her hearing, which she has it since she was about 50 years old, she is in a good shape. She walks alone, she eats well, she jokes around and laughs a lot (very laud). I simply wish her good health and keeping that wit.
The population of the elder people is increasing while the child birth rate is very low. Depopulation (kasoka / 過疎化) of the remote towns and villages is becoming a serious problem in Japan.
However this custom of respect for the aged people is something beautiful. It´s not so common in Japan nowadays that three generations live together but I think that is the best way to live.
A friend of mine is an owner of the shop and she has three children. She lives with not only her parents but also her grandfather, who is a great grandfather to her children. Despite of 6 days work at the shop, she is always relaxed because the family can always help her. The great grandfather is very old and needs a lot of support but her children see it as a part of their life. In this environment, children can learn a lot about the life, I think.
Do you have grandparents? Are you close to them? Why don´t you ring them today just to say, “Hi, how are you?”
Last time I saw my grandma, she taught me how to fold Kimono. Then she showed up with various yukata and told me to choose whatever I want to take. I picked two but unfortunately my backpack was already full and couldn´t bring any. I should ring her right now. Happy Keirou no Hi!!
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