It's good to pause to 振り返ってみる (furikaette miru, look back on things) every now and then. I did so recently and was surprised to see that I wrote 59 Bilingual page columns for The Japan Times in the decade that just ended, the bulk of which were published from 2014 onward.

So this is my 60th article and a start to a new decade, the 2020s, which got me thinking about the number 60 in Japanese. Conveniently for the conceit of this column, the number 60 is associated with a new start in Japan because of the phenomenon known as 還暦 (kanreki, 60th birthday).

In English-speaking countries we have various retirement ages, some dictated by legal policies and others by tradition. We also have the phrase "over the hill," which is associated with the ages of 40, 50 and 60, depending on whom you ask.