So this past weekend Mr. A and I went to our first festival here in Japan. It was the Misawa Tanabata Festival and it was located immediately off base, yay walking distance!
But anyway, I had never heard of this festival before coming here, so I did a little research. Tanabata means “Evening of the Seventh” and is the star festival here in Japan. It is a festival that celebrates the meeting of two lovers, Orihime (Star Vega) and Hikoboshi (Star Altair) and are separated and are only allowed to meet once a year, on the seventh day of the seventh month of the lunar calendar – which is around July 7th. The festival is celebrated throughout July and August all over the country. But you write your wishes down on colorful paper and tie them to baby bamboo tress, eat lots of food and enjoy the lanterns, which are made by the weaver princess in the story (Orihime).
Supposedly the Japanese version of Tanabata originated from a Chinese story about a weaver, that made a cloth to give to the gods for better rice harvest. The Japanese altered it so that the weaver was the young princess and the young man was a cow herder. long story short (you can wiki it if you want the full story), they meet, fall in love and then neglect their duties. The Sky King gets mad and separates them, she pleads to see her love, the king gives in to his daughter. But when they go to meet there is a river blocking them so magpies make her a bridge. Thankfully enough it didn’t rain, because they story tells that if it rains during the festival it means that the magpies were unable to make the bridge and they must wait another year to meet. Sad, yeah?
Anyway! On to the pictures. It was very crowded so I didn’t get many pictures of the lanterns since I had to snap them as we left. I used my diffusing filter and 8-point star filter to add some magic to them.
There was also lots of food. I finally got to try some Japanese street food I have been wanting to get my hands on for years! Steamed buns, takoyaki, taiyaki and chicken skewers. There was much more than that, but you can only eat so much!
We had fun, and I can’t wait until the next festival! I can totally get used to this!!!!~