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    Posted January 19, 2014 by
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Photo essays: Your stories in pictures

    The meaning of coming age in Japan

    My 20th birthday was the most memorable event of 2013.
    On that day, I was celebrated by some of my friends.
    They held a party on a boat and invited me to dinner at Tokyo Skytree, which is the tallest structure in Japan.
    My friend booked a rental boat which has a room they decorated.
    I can clearly remember that I was very surprised when I was first stepped in the room. Many of them pulled crackers which made a big sound. We had some alcohol and did Karaoke for about 2 hours. The party was really exciting and I spent a good time there.
    After that, I said “see you” to some of them at the party and went to a restaurant with others.
    They reserved seats and a birthday cake, so I ate sushi and cake. When the cake was coming to the table they sang happy birthday to me. I appreciated their kindness. The foods tasted so good so I really enjoyed it.
    But the reason I chose my 20th birthday for the best event of 2013 is not only this one.
    Actually, in Japan, turning 20 is treated in a special way because things such as drinking, smoking and voting are officially allowed from this age. There is also a coming of age ceremony which is a unique Japanese tradition held every year. All people turning 20 return to their hometown and attend these ceremonies in which mayors declare them adults and encourage them in their future.
    Because of this, most Japanese consider one’s 20th birthday as becoming an adult. When I was younger I felt the same way.
    The atmosphere of the ceremony affected me because I felt the sense of achievement.
    I can't say precisely what it was I felt but it certainly marked a stage in my life so that's why I nominate this moment as the best one of 2013.

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