But in spite of all that, Pikachu still made a guest appearance!

Every year on the second Monday in January, cities all across Japan host Seijinshiki, or Coming of Age Ceremonies, to celebrate the fact that young people who are turning twenty are becoming full-fledged adults in the eyes of the law. Though the real draw is getting to dress up in an elaborate kimono or suit of your choice, many find the ceremony itself important, and enjoy listening to the speeches made by city officials and appreciate the pomp and circumstance of the event.

The ceremonies are supposed to be dignified, but in one major Japanese city, attendees tend to ruin the event for everyone. In Kanto’s bayside metropolis Yokohama, Seijin no Hi, or Coming of Age Day, is known to get a little chaotic, and this year was no different. In fact, some of those who attended the ceremony were concerned for their own safety.

Fights, illegal firecrackers, and general shenanigans were some of the inappropriate things that happened at this year’s Seijinshiki in Yokohama, which was held on the 13th. One man even decided to scale a wall like a mountain climber as police tried desperately to get him down. It didn’t appear to end too well for him.

Multiple fights also seemed to break out between the attendees, causing a major disturbance. Even event officials got dragged into the midst as somebody threw down firecrackers:

One particular fight seemed to not actually disturb anyone, as officials just kind of stood by helplessly and whoever was talking in the background continues their announcement, unperturbed. Still, one man seemed to be pretty seriously attacking another, which was probably pretty scary for the people nearby.

Besides the fighting, the behavior of attendees appeared to be generally disrespectful. Twitter users who attended said that the arena where it was held was noisy, and several netizens commented on the fact that people turned on their mobile phone’s LED flashlights during the “New Adulthood Promise”, which is a speech by a fellow “new adult” that sets the stage for what kind of adults they want their generation to be and how they want to contribute to the world. It was not a concert, and therefore such behavior would be considered rude.

▼ Here you can see the lights of mobile phone flashlights dotting the crowd.

One attendee even spun a high-power light stick at high speed during the Yokohama City Song, a dangerous behavior that is frequently frowned upon in large crowds. It was obviously meant to be a nuisance, since the Yokohama City Song is nothing really to get so excited about.

Another netizen even made a laundry list of things they found annoying:

 “The second half of the Yokohama Seijinshiki: 
・The guy who yelled something before the event started
・The guy who was too loud during the introduction of the sponsors
・The guy who interrupted and messed around during the New Adult Promise with yells and whistles
・The many people who waved around their phones’ LED lights during the New Adult Promise after one guy did it
The last guys stood out the most, but overall I’d say it was much better than the first half. It’s been a hard day.”

Even outside of the event arena, attendees in their special garb hung out of cars as they drove around the neighborhood, causing a disturbance for the public as well as at the event, and putting themselves in danger.

▼ Apparently these guys were even throwing glass bottles around.

Sadly, the Yokohama Coming of Age Ceremonies are pretty notorious for the bad behavior of their attendees; the event last year also saw various fights break out, including a brawl in the street, which stopped only when police got involved.

▼ A fight at last year’s Seijinshiki

The reputation is so bad, in fact, that convenience stores were forbidden from selling alcohol and cigarettes on the day of the event. 7-Elevens and Lawsons around the city covered their alcohol fridges and shelves with plastic tarps to keep them shut, with signs posted on them that said, “As today is the day of the Seijinshiki, we have suspended sales of alcohol and tobacco, as per the law.” The official website for the Yokohama Seijinshiki also explicitly states that “individuals drinking alcohol” will be denied entry to the arena, although their vetting system may not have worked all that well.

Part of the problem may possibly be that there were too many people in attendance. The population of Yokohama is so large that the city has to hold two separate Coming of Age Ceremonies to accommodate everyone; in total for both ceremonies there were nearly 25,000 people in attendance, so it must be hard to control all of those people. Still, that doesn’t really account for the lack of public order, which many people found appalling:

“We should make it so that everyone has to take an ‘adult test’ and only people who pass can become ‘adults’. Not a scholastic test but more like a personality test.”
“It always comes full circle and the same thing happens.”
“Yokohama really is full of hicks. How embarrassing!”
“It’s a lawless area haha. Even Kita Kyushu City is better than this.”
“They have trouble at the Seijinshiki every year lol”
“Well, if they’re full of energy then that’s good.”
“They’ve got to stop this kind of uncool behavior. Just because of a few people everyone could end up losing the Seijinshiki.”

However, in the spirit of the last comment, it’s worth pointing out that Yokohama is really not a bad or unsafe place. In fact, it’s been picked as the most desirable place to live in Kanto, and the Minato Mirai area of the city is one of the most picturesque in the Kanto region. Besides, the Seijinshiki in Yokohama weren’t all bad. For this year’s celebrity guest, Pikachu made an appearance!

Yokohama is, after all, home of the famous Pikachu Outbreak too, so there’s plenty of reasons to visit. Don’t let a few bad apples deter you!

Source: Hachima Kiko
Featured Image: Twitter/@naoki_ishibashi
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