Don’t be too surprised when the expiry date on your food says year 30. Don’t keep it until 2030 though, in Japan it currently is Heisei 30. That means it’s 30 years into emperor’s Akihito’s reign. Japan is the only country in the world that still uses the imperial calendar, mostly on governmental documents, newspapers and commercial calendars.
This is soon about to end. In May of next year, the abdication of the emperor is planned in favour of crown prince Naruhito. This will literally and figuratively be ‘the end of an era’. (Nowadays an era ends with the abdication. In the past emperors also initiated new eras during their reign as a ‘tabula rasa’ after a crisis or disaster.)
Experts are busy deciding on a new era name. Exciting times!