I was reminded of what holiday it was in Japan today, when I got onto my computer this morning. I couldn’t help but smile when I saw this and wondered why we didn’t have a national holiday where we recognized the elderly, in America. It’s so evident here that the young (including my students) have a profound amount of respect towards their seniors. For those of you that are unaware 敬老の日 (“keirou no hi”) is a national holiday where most people have the day off so that they might be able to spend it honoring the elders in their life.
I’ve met so many elderly people during my short time here in Japan, and interestingly many of them remind me of my own grandparents. It’s so interesting to see the cultural differences between the United States and Japan, in this respect. Sure, we have mother’s day and father’s day (Japan does too), but to see that they also have an elder’s day, as well as a children’s day, goes to show where much of their priorities reside. Even though we might not have this kind of holiday, I feel fortunate to have experienced it so that I might be able to remind myself of the wealth of experience and knowledge elders have to share within their communities and families.