“Grey hair? Don’t care!”
Take a gander at some relevant facts and figures!
Let me start by showing a significant information from Wikipedia: ‘The aging of Japan is thought to outweigh all other nations, as the country is purported to have the highest proportion of elderly citizens. Not just in rural, but also in urban areas, Japan is experiencing a “super-ageing” society. According to 2014 estimates, 33.0% of the Japanese population is above the age of 60, 25.9% are aged 65 or above, 12.5% are aged 75 or above. People aged 65 and older in Japan make up fifth of its total population, estimated to be reaching third by the year 2050’.
As a teacher to business people from this country, I consistently hear varied statements relating to above’s information from my students. We have tackled different issues linking to the problem. Previously, I can only visualize how Japan looks like being filled with the elderlies however, when URG granted me this privilege and finally got the chance to see the wonders of Japan, I never had thought to testify such certitude.
Grizzled folks in Supermarkets
In a span of four months, I was able to stay in Saitama prefecture, a part of Greater Tokyo Area and is considered as suburb of Tokyo. It is in between city-ish and bucolic area if I would give a description to it. Whichever area in Japan is limned as heaven of comfort. Everything you need is just steps away for you to reach. Therefore, supermarkets, convenient stores, and assorted shops are all around the corners. Even parks are of near sights. Recently, I have transferred to Tokyo area, a completely different place from my previous home. However, things related to convenience are still present. I could conclude that every city or town in Japan represents its distinctiveness. There is only one thing that is selfsame, and that is the supermarkets. Supermarkets with a mass of endearing elderly. Almost 60-80% of the shoppers are strong and cheerful grey-haired people. You will be astonished seeing them carrying a bag or two of their groceries. Moreover, they are very welcoming and often smile back to foreign shoppers. Certainly, you would enjoy buying your stuffs with them!
Never too old for some escapades
Never underestimate the oldies in Japan! Most of them are always up for some adventures. You will not find them killing time lying on bed. Instead, they are on trains solidly gripping those strap hangers. Where do you think are they heading to? Surprisingly, if they won’t go for some little shopping, they participate on festivals or have some tours. Others go in a bunch while some are with their bffs or families. They do not only have strong arms but knees either! Surely they enjoy every step they take for their escapades.
Whole new age for Seniors (Saitama Golden Theater)
I was really stunned with the article that I have read from The Japan Times. I learned that there is a famous theater in Saitama that are opened for golden-aged people. Unbelievably, elder people in Japan never want their work to draw to a close. 60 seems to be the age of retirement for all of us, but for them they want to feel functional through working. It is a sense of reward when they end their day concluding their tireless works. This theater somehow gives another motivation or path for new rationale for their days. They have chances to showcase their talents and prove that you can never go wrong when you get your age growing!
A day for respect
In Japan, a day is dedicated to give thanks and appreciation to elderlies. They call it “respect for the aged day” or “Keiro-no-Hi”. It is held every third Monday of September. The government designated this day and considered this as a public holiday. On this day, there are different activities being conducted by some companies, organizations or simply by individuals. There are organizations that visit nursing homes and donate some necessities. Functions are held as well. Different programs are dedicated to them. Everyone is encouraged to be more polite and show kindness to every oldie that one may encounter. Well, we all are aware how polite Japanese people are. Take it as an opinion or a fact. Both are correct!
Japan has full of love and respect towards the elders. People do not care to add another years to their age since they are even more valued as they get older. They have lived their previous years serving their nation and showing the world what hard work is. That is why the youth will always be looking up to them and make them an impeccable role-models.