I received a phone call from my mother a week ago. She told me that my grandma will be 88 years old in a few weeks time and they are planning to celebrate in a fancy restaurant.
In Japan, certain ages are so important that have special names instead of just saying the numbers. For example 88 years old is called Beiju. 88 is written “八十八 ” in Kanjii and as you can see in the picture below, when you write 八十八 in vertical (red part), it can be seen as 米 (left below). Kanji 米 can be read in two ways, kome or bei and this time, we read it as bei with the combination of 寿 (Ju/felicitations).
米 means rice and I always thought it´s strange 88 years old is rice age but then when I was asked by a Spanish friend, I found out the real meaning of it. 米寿 (Beiju) isn´t an rice age but 88 years old.
My grandfather died quite young and since then my grandmother is free like a bird. She has a group of people whom she travels almost every month, she was going to hula-dance lessons, ballroom dancing class and singing class. With 88 years old, she is active and having a lot of fun. I wish her all the fun things in her life and live longer!