Japan is a few (thousand) years older than America

4 Jul

Today is 「アメリカ独立記念日」 (America’s Independence Day).

"Spirit of '76"

America declared independence from England on 1776 July 4…two hundred thirty-five (235) years ago today.

Compared to other countries in the world America is “young”. Japan’s history, for instance, is over 12,000 years old.
America may be a young country, but it still uses the same Constitution that was written in 1776 after gaining independence. America is the only country whose government’s Constitution hasn’t been changed* (*amended, but not changed).

Since I was born, there have been only eight different U.S. presidents…but in the same time there have been twenty-three men to hold the office of Prime Minister of Japan.

Since I came to Japan in 1990, I have seen fourteen Japanese Prime Ministers so far…but America has had only four different Presidents in the same twenty-one years.

Anyways, America’s Independence Day isn’t a holiday in Japan, of course. It’s been many years since I’ve celebrated the “Fourth of July”.
I remember, of course, the fireworks displays…but I’m not sure whether or not it’s a legal holiday (a “day off”) in America. Is it?

Are you American? How do you celebrate the “Fourth of July”?
If you’re not an American, does your country have an “Independence Day”? When is it? How do you celebrate?

The closest holiday in Japan is 「建国記念日」 (“National Founding Day”) on February 11 to celebrate the establishment of Japan as a nation.
It’s a day off from work and school…but there’s not much in the way of any special celebrations on that day.

14 Responses to “Japan is a few (thousand) years older than America”

  1. Felicia July 6, 2011 at 4:19 pm #

    On my country’s Independence Day, we usually hold some traditional games, mostly at schools but small neighborhoods also hold the same games with some prizes..
    It was fun but I don’t know if it’s because I now live in bigger city, I don’t see many people celebrate with games anymore…


    • tokyo5 July 8, 2011 at 12:35 am #

      >my country’s Independence Day

      Which country are you from?


      • Felicia July 8, 2011 at 4:49 pm #

        I’m from Indonesia 😉


      • tokyo5 July 8, 2011 at 11:14 pm #

        >I’m from Indonesia

        What country did Indonesia gain independence from? In what year?


  2. Dan Elvins July 5, 2011 at 5:01 pm #

    In England we don’t have any sort of independence celebration as we have always been independent. We do however have a few national holidays for things throughout the year, I know one of them is war specific, to mark a point in WWII, (though I honestly can’t remember what its for, its called MAY DAY).

    I know many pubs owned by Americans celebrate on this day though, however Unless your employer is from the US, you aren’t given the day off or anything, unlike some national holidays.


    • tokyo5 July 6, 2011 at 1:23 am #

      >In England…we have always been independent.

      Japan too.
      Japan and England have other things in common too…both are small island countries with a royal family, a prime minister, driving on the left side of the road, famous gardens, and a love of tea,
      Also Japan likes to consider itself separate from “Asia” just as England does with “Europe”.

      >I know many pubs owned by Americans

      Are there pubs in England that are owned by Americans who like to celebrate the independence of their home country from the land they immigrated to?
      That’s funny. 😉


  3. Bryn July 4, 2011 at 7:50 pm #

    We have a traditional American celebration here on the base for the 4th. A big party w/ lots of BBQ and live music, followed by fireworks. This year we had a “battle-of-the-bands” between the different squadrons on base, one did Kiss, they did a pretty good job, they looked pretty great too!

    The 4th is a Federal holiday in the U.S. so banks and government offices are closed, here at Yokota we got a 4-day weekend, with Friday designated as a “family” day so everyone got that day off as well.


    • tokyo5 July 4, 2011 at 11:28 pm #

      >We have a traditional American celebration here on the base for the 4th.

      Is there a “Fourth of July” fireworks show on the American military bases? I thought there probably was.

      >a “battle-of-the-bands”…one did Kiss

      Of course, KISS won, right? 😉

      >The 4th is a Federal holiday in the U.S.

      OK, thanks. I couldn’t remember if it was.

      >a 4-day weekend

      Did everyone in the U.S. have a “four-day-weekend” or only the U.S. military?


  4. RattRocker July 4, 2011 at 7:32 am #

    Long time no see. Well for the Fourth of July I usually have a barbeque and then after drive to somewhere to watch it’s fireworks display.


    • tokyo5 July 4, 2011 at 11:23 pm #

      Do you BBQ hamburgers and hot dogs? That’s the usual BBQ in America, isn’t it?

      In Japan, a BBQ usually consists of beef, fish, vegetables and noodles. Quite different.

      But in Japan, no one has a BBQ at a fireworks show….during fireworks, people in Japan have a picnic.


      • RattRocker July 11, 2011 at 2:02 am #

        Yeah, we BBG hamburgers and hotdogs and then grill some corn on the cob. Usually we BBQ at home and then after go drive to a park or somewhere to watch the fireworks.

        The Japanese BBQ sounds pretty good, now I want to try it!


      • tokyo5 July 11, 2011 at 2:05 am #

        >we BBQ hamburgers and hotdogs and…corn on the cob.

        Sounds good.

        >The Japanese BBQ sounds pretty good, now I want to try it!

        You should. Come visit Japan and try Japanese food here! 😉


  5. musings July 4, 2011 at 1:51 am #

    Yes, it’s definitely a holiday. Even in Hawaii, people celebrate with outdoor grilling and fireworks. On the mainland a lot of places are restricting fireworks because of the tinder dry season. There’s a worry of more fires starting. I think it’s very responsible.


    • tokyo5 July 4, 2011 at 11:18 pm #

      >a lot of places are restricting fireworks

      Japan has excellent fireworks shows every summer…but this year many shows will be either cancelled or scaled down out of respect for the victims of the March 11 earthquake.


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