Japan Time

Monday, July 6, 2009

Tanabata Festival: lots of people, good food, pretty decorations, and an excuse for a Western girl to try out some traditional Japanese clothes.

In Japan, July 7 is Tanabata, which is a holiday that celebrates the reunion of two lovers (stars) that have been separated by a river (the Milky Way). The two lovers can only see each other one day out of the year, so to celebrate, many Japanese areas have festivals. Yesterday I went to the Star Festival in Shimizu, which is where I go to take my Japanese lessons.

Many Japanese women wear yukata to star festivals, but since I obviously don't have one just lying around, Michiko let me borrow one of hers, a beautiful bright blue one. Her mother helped me put it on correctly and made sure I was tied in nice and tight. Really tight.

A group of us, foreigners and Japanese, headed off to the festival in the evening and walked though the flood of people (I will never cease to be amazed at just how crowded Japan is - I always feel like I'm a part of a herd of cattle at these kinds of events). There were handmade decorations in front of the stores and lots of food, like okonomiyaki, yakitori, and yakisoba. Even chocolate covered bananas (I bought one, of course).

After walking around and getting quite tired of walking around, we went to an izakaya and enjoyed some drinks and food. It was a great time, with a good mixture of English and Japanese and lots of laughter.

All origami! I can't imagine how long it took to make this...

Yes, SpongeBob is even in Japan.

The four ladies: Michiko, Kana, Mika, and me.

Chocolate bananas.

There were even Obama decorations!

Flamenco dancing in front of a Spanish restaurant.

Making takoyaki.


Jeannette said...

You look beautiful, and the chocolate bananas look delicious!

pamjean48818 said...

Love the blue and gold kimono. You look gorgeous!
Yes - spongebob is everywhere!