Saturday, July 7, 2012

7th day of the 7th month

Their was a Tanabata festival in town today. It was very fun, there were game booths, and lots of food.  There were fish catching statioins, where people could win the fish they caught. I got a shaved ice (they are really good, nothing like the terrible ones at home). Ben got a special soda which was like sprite with melon syrup in it. We got a gift of two lanterns, which was really nice, I think we were given the lanterns because we were a cute couple.

Fish booth
It was very difficult for Ben and I to get around because everywhere we went we saw students who were ecstatic that we were there. We stopped and talked to most of them, which was fun. Many of their parents were excited to see us as well. Many of them were wearing traditional Japanese style festival clothes, they were very cute.
We had a great time, unfortunately it started pouring. The festival was only a couple of blocks away from our house, so we just went home, our students thought it was so funny to see us walking home soaking wet.
The story of Tanabata
Orihime (織姫 Weaving Princess), daughter of the Tentei (天帝 Sky King, or the universe itself), wove beautiful clothes by the bank of the Amanogawa (天の川 Milky Way, lit. "heavenly river"). Her father loved the cloth that she wove and so she worked very hard every day to weave it. However, Orihime was sad that because of her hard work she could never meet and fall in love with anyone. Concerned about his daughter, Tentei arranged for her to meet Hikoboshi (彦星 Cow Herder Star) who lived and worked on the other side of the Amanogawa. When the two met, they fell instantly in love with each other and married shortly thereafter. However, once married, Orihime no longer would weave cloth for Tentei and Hikoboshi allowed his cows to stray all over Heaven. In anger, Tentei separated the two lovers across the Amanogawa and forbade them to meet. Orihime became despondent at the loss of her husband and asked her father to let them meet again. Tentei was moved by his daughter’s tears and allowed the two to meet on the 7th day of the 7th month if she worked hard and finished her weaving. The first time they tried to meet, however, they found that they could not cross the river because there was no bridge. Orihime cried so much that a flock of magpies came and promised to make a bridge with their wings so that she could cross the river. It is said that if it rains on Tanabata, the magpies cannot come and the two lovers must wait until another year to meet.

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