Faces for Father`s Day- and a bit on the history of that special day as it is celebrated in Japan
By Avi Landau
A wallet, necktie or new set of golf clubs are fine Father’s Day gifts. But nothing brings a bigger smile to a dad’s face than his portrait executed in crayon by his own toddler. And what better subject is there for all the budding young Hokusais and Sharakus out there than that big face, which all googly-eyed, has been cootchy-cooing at them since their eyes have started to focus?
In past year`s Seibu Department Store has held displays showing hundreds of such Father’s Day portraits as part of their Chichi-no-Hi (父の日, Father’s Day) campaign. In more recent years similar exhibits have come to be held at various supermarkets and shopping malls. They are sure to bring a smile to ANYONE who sees them. Though these works lack polish and technique (they are created by 3 year-olds!), they exude color, love and joy of life — and what could be better than that? And though we are grown up now, we STILL can’t escape those images of the big faces which peered down at US when WE were in OUR cribs. This exhibition will bring back a flood of memories and feelings.
Father’s Day was introduced to Japan after WWll and is held on the 3rd Sunday in June. Though at first completely overshadowed by Mother’s Day in terms of gift giving and spending, Dad’s Day has been slowly but surely catching up as family dynamics have been changing (more time spent with papa) and advertising campaigns have started to sink in.
The 6th floor of Seibu often has special events which are worth checking out. This month they will be having summer gifts (o-chugen) on display, and even if you don’t plan on sending these beautifully packaged and very over-priced boxes of juice, salad oil etc. to YOUR boss, in-laws, professor, or go-between (nakodo), many Japanese people do, and it is interesting to see all the different gifts and the lines of customers doing their duty.
The 6th floor events that I most look forward to are the Eki-Ben Fairs which bring together all the famous train station boxed lunches from around Japan, and the regional food fair which gives you a chance to taste and purchase delicacies for various prefectures, both far and near.
Oh!- and here are two versions of a song I wrote about the joys of fatherhood! They were recorded byThe TenGooz !