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I'll be celebrating my birthday during my trip (solo) to Japan.

Apart from special year birthdays (eg 3, 5, 7 years of age), is there anything special or unique to Japanese birthdays compared to western countries like Australia that I can somehow experience? If so, what options do I as a solo traveller have for organizing or having others organize such a party?

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closed as off topic by Dirty-flow, Mark Mayo, Vince, Rory Alsop, Flimzy Jun 5 '13 at 17:11

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What research effort have you put in to this question ? – happybuddha Jun 5 '13 at 14:32
once again, I don't think that's a travel question. – Dirty-flow Jun 5 '13 at 14:44
Where are all the geishas and weird stuff you always ask about??? you should be with them in your birthday... – Heidel Ber Gensis Jun 5 '13 at 15:48
@happybuddha I tried googling about it, but I mainly got hits about celebrations at 3, 5, or 7 years, hits about the world's oldest man and woman celebrating their birthdays, and content from yahoo answers. – Andrew Grimm Jun 5 '13 at 21:04
@HaLaBi I had dinner with two geishas from Higashiyama Onsen earlier on in my trip. Doing it twice in one trip might make me an addict! – Andrew Grimm Jun 5 '13 at 21:13
up vote 1 down vote accepted

As a solo traveler, you are obviously challenged by people not knowing you or simply not knowing that it's your birthday. In which case of course nothing happens. If you know people around you, they might organize some small souvenir for you or pay for some drinks/dinner.

I once spent my birthday on a business trip also by myself in Sapporo or Osaka, don't remember, but I do remember going into a bar for some drinks and after starting a conversation with the bar keeper and some other people there, I mentioned it was my birthday. I got some music CD the bar was selling as a gift and someone offered me a drink, so I was quite happy, and had some great talk with the other people that I just met for the first time 1 hour ago.

In general, nothing special happens if people want to be nice to you that is different from what happens in other western countries. Maybe a cake, maybe a drink etc.

Just for reference, the only other special birthdays I know of are 20 and 60, 20 because you will be allowed to drink and smoke (expect lighters and other stuff as gifts) and at your 60th you get to wear red clothes, celebrating this one as a very special day.

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Err, the drinking age in Japan is 20, not 21? 20 is the traditional boundary for adulthood in Japan, there's even a special word for the age (hatachi). – jpatokal Jun 6 '13 at 2:44
@jpatokal sorry, typo, will fix – uncovery Jun 6 '13 at 2:52

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