Hello from Yuka from Ichiroya.
Ogenki desuka? How are you. I did not know the number of holidays in Japan is quite many among other countries and we are in the Top three countries which have many public holidays. Columbia and India has 18 days and the second place countries are Thailand, Lebanon and South Korea. Japan has 15 holidays and it is quite many compared to other countries. We hear in many countries, people have more `paid holidays', so the number of public holidays does not mean less working days.
May 5th is Kodomo no hi(Children's Day) in Japan. The number of children under fifteen years of age is 16 million people which is 160 thousands less people compared to last year. This decrease keeps 34 years. The rate of children in all population is 12.7 % -the decrease is for 41 consecutive years.
The rate of children is less than a half of the rate of the population of people aged over 65 years old. The number of children are keeping declining in all area, except Tokyo.
Italy and Germany are said to have declining of birth rates but still they are better. The declining of birth rates in Japan is serious and seems keep going. The number of children in Japan is the lowest ever.
On Kodomo no hi, we celebrate the growth of children and wish them good health and happiness. Kabuto (samurai helmet), Koinobori (colorful carp banner) are displayed- it used to be this holiday was for boys but now it is the day for both boys and girls.
Less children in aged society! It used to be it was more simple - familes got togeter and displayed Koinobori banner and ate Kashiwa mochi (rice cake wrapped in an oak leaf) or chimaki (rice dumbling wrapped in a bamboo leaf), that was it but now there are Kodomonohi lunch, Kodomono hi cake, Kodomono hi sweets, Kodomono hi events!
Yesterday, two old men(over 85 years old) came to see my father who is in a senior citizon's home. They have been long time friends- one of them has been my father's friend since they were in the same kindergarten!
They talked and talked about the memory from long time ago, and my father remembered most of them so clearly (he tends to forget about recent things). Their face was like the ones of kids:-) Their parents must have celebrated their growth and made kashiwa mochi for them more than 80 years ago. They complained about their health and things they could not do any more.... but were joking and teasing each other- I could see full of lives in their eyes. They were surely young boys for a while and after a while, my father lied down on bed and the two erstwhile boys left with canes.
It was Kodomono hi and I wanted to celebrate their precious lives and friendship.