Yesterday at work was business as usual. I started one of my FTLs with this woman, and it was directly after my crazy kids class, so I was a bit worn out. We started chatting and I asked her if she was married, which she was. Then I asked her if she had any kids, thinking that her kids were maybe around the same age as the kids I teach, which is 8. She then proceeds to tell me that her two kids are 23 and 24!! It was all I could do not to exclaim, “Are you kidding me??” This woman seriously looked as though she were in her early thirties maximum…definitely not old enough to be my mom.
But, really, I shouldn’t be all that shocked because Japanese people age extremely well! I don’t know how they do it, but they just look youthful for a long time. I’ve even seen some women in their 60’s who definitely didn’t look that old at all. I mean, not saying that there’s a certain look to people, but usually, we can at least guess that right decade of someone’s age from their looks. But that’s all thrown out the window here.
But I think the secret might be in the hands. Oftentimes, people’s hands give away their true age, even when their face doesn’t. This woman had the hands of a mom with adult kids. But again, that’s not always true. And you’d also think that gray hair might give people away, but nope not the case here. Usually, it’s only men that have gray hair of any amount, and they’re not always old. I’ve met students around my age with gray coming in. I think it’s just more noticeable because it’s such a stark color contrast. So, if you come to visit me in Japan, be prepared to be amazed at how young people look.