In my native UK, while we’re permitted to drink, smoke, vote and watch (reasonably) naughty movies from the age of 18, our 21st birthday is still recognised as the moment when we become real adults, and are expected, as a result, to stop getting upset when Simba’s dad dies in The Lion King, and to brush our teeth a minimum of twice a day.
In Japan, a seijinshiki (coming of age ceremony) is usually held for a birthday boy or girl on their 20th birthday. They may have long since left school, found a job, started smoking and staying up later than their own parents, but until a person is 20 years old, they are not considered a true adult.
With this in mind, Japanese “Woman Smile Company” Senshukai’s “mama & baby for baby” catalogue has recently listed a new item: a special wooden box-set of 20 birthday cards that a mother (or father!) can pass over to their child upon their “coming of age”.
Already proving to be a big hit with young parents, the box-set has seen a sudden and huge increase in customer orders.
The idea is that, as baby turns one, two and so on, the parent discreetly writes a message on the appropriately-numbered card, then adds it to the others in a small wooden gift box, which they keep hidden away. When their child turns 20, the parent presents the box at the seijinshiki or birthday party, with the box acting as a message log of the child’s journey into adulthood, and presumably giving parents an opportunity to be a little more sentimental than they might in an average birthday card.
While hardly the most groundbreaking idea ever, even sarcastic, videogame-obsessed men like me would struggle not to choke up a little if they received cards penned by their parents when they were just a toddler…
Priced at a fairly reasonable 5,250 yen (67 US dollars), the card set is a little cheaper than some of the other products the company has produced for the young parent market, but would undoubtedly make a great gift for friends or relatives who have just had a baby. It also comes with the added bonus of being the gift that literally keeps on giving as, once a year when mum or dad sit down to write a fresh card for their child, they’ll recall “Oh, yeah, [name of awesome friend] bought these cards for us; I must remember to buy them a drink…”
Baby-turned-adult gets cards, mum and dad get happy memories, you get a beer; everyone’s a winner!
The card sets are available to order now via Bellemaison
Source: Nikkei Trendy