New imperial era has started in Japan.
Last time our era changed (yes, I’m a Showa-born lady), we were in mourning period and everything moved mechanically. I remember TV anchors were all wearing black, and we quietly received the announcement of new era and its change. And it took some time before we joked about this name of era. (e.g. “What, Heisei? Hey Say?”)
However, things were really different this time. Because the Emperor (now former Emperor) decided and was allowed to abdicate while he’s alive, the change was received positively. After the announcement of new era name (“Reiwa”) on April 1st, the country was (at least to my eyes) filled with “Thank you Heisei!! Welcome Reiwa!!” festive mood. I saw a lot of media coverage
about “Look back on Heisei 30years” and it was like a super deluxe version of new year’s eve. (A bit like Millenium…?) Quite strange, but it wasn’t so bad to feel the uplifting mood. After all it’s just normal for us to expect something good from “new”. And yesterday, May 1, we messaged each other “Happy new era!” as we welcomed the new start.
Back on the day of new era name announcement, I was talking with a young store staff at The Body Shop. She asked “Is this your first time to see the era change?” A new way to check the age group. I said it’s my second time. And she went “Do you remember it well?” A new way to narrow it down! I said yes, and asked how she personally felt about the whole era change situation. I’m curious to know the take of Heisei-born’s. She suddenly straighten herself and looked at me seriously, and said “I feel… really old” …then we both laughed.
I think I’ll remember this conversation at the end of this era… if I’m there.