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Event Album: Tanabata Festival: 07/07/2018
Event Note

 When we first received program inquiry from the library for July 7th, I thought it’d be the perfect day for Tanabata Festival as it is the very date Japanese are celebrating the summer festival. So what is Tanabata anyway?
Commonly, it is the day you’d find festival many places in Japan, with tall bamboo trees with lots of ornaments hanging, usually made of colorful papers and/or Tanzaku-paper, a long square strip of paper with prayers written on it. We also know it is close to the day eating a bowl of eel-don (Teriyaki eel on top of steamed white rice), “Doyo-no-Ushi-no-Hi”. But, traditionally in old days, it was the day Japanese people celebrated and prayed for good weather = rich (rice) crops in the fall. It also came with an ancient love story of Orihime, a weaving princess, who was representing a star “Vega” and Hikoboshi, a cow herd, as “Altair” star located either side of milky ways as they were separated by the Orihime’s father, Tenkai, as they had made him mad by being lazy and not working hard after they married. It is said that if weather was good, a flock of magpie would come and make a bridge with their wings over the milky way so that the two could reunite each other. But if rained, it means Orihime is weeping too hard, the magpie cannot come thus the two could not cross the milky way and would have to wait until the next year. So, after all, it is all about the weather and crops, and nothing about bamboos or eel-don. Yet, people in Japan still celebrate this day the way they carried from ancestors while looking for the beautiful milky way in the night sky.
So, luckily the weather today was perfect for the water-yoyo fishing games outside on a porch. Inside the community room, we set up tables for people to write their wishes and hang Tanzaku-paper on a bamboo tree. However, regretfully there was so little participants today. We suspected it was due to the July 4th holiday and many people may still be on vacation. Or, after many brutally hot days, people could be enjoying outdoor activities.
So, we volunteers took advantage and enjoyed our relaxed chit-chat in Yukata, summer Kimono, with Geta-sandal, just like people must be doing in a summer day in Japan.
Midori Shinye
Project leader
 ライブラリーからプログラムの依頼が最初来た時に7月7日は七夕祭りにパーフェクトだと思いました。日本では正にその日にお祭りをしているからです。では七夕とは実際何でしょうか? 日本の各地で見られるお祭りで、一般的に背高い竹の葉に色とりどりの紙で出来た飾りとかお祈りが掛かれている短冊が飾られています。またその日はウナギを食べる土用の丑の日に近いということでもあります。しかし元々は秋に収穫するお米の豊作を祈って祝う日でした。また、七夕には昔の恋物語もついていまして、琴座の一等星である織女星の織姫と鷲座の彦星が結婚したとたんに仕事をしなくなった為に織姫の父の天海が怒って二人を天の川を隔てて両側に別れさせてしまったストーリーです。もし天気が良いとカササギという鳥の群れが飛んできて天の川の上に羽を広げて橋を作ってくれるので二人が一緒になれるのだそうです。しかしもし織姫があまりにも泣き続けると雨になるのでカササギが来れなくなり二人はまた来年まで待たないといけなくなります。と言うことで、つまり七夕の元々の意味は天候と豊作のことであって、竹やぶでもウナギでもないわけです。まあそれでも日本の方々は今でも先祖から伝わったやり方でこの日にお祝いをしながら夜になると美しい天の川が出ているかどうか楽しみにしているわけです。 それで今日は外のポーチに出したヨーヨー釣りゲームをするにはピッタシの良い天気でした。中では短冊に願い事を書いて竹の葉に飾れる様にテーブルも用意しましたが残念ながら以外に参加者が少なくて、おそらく7月4日の休日でまだ沢山の方々がバケーションでいないのかもしれないし、また数日続いた猛暑の後なのでもしかしたら一般の人達は外での活動を楽しんでいらっしゃるのかもしれないと思いました。 で、私達ボランティアはそれをいいことに浴衣と下駄でくつろぎながら正に日本の人達と同じ様にある夏の日のひと時を楽しませて頂きました。 新江 緑 プロジェクトリーダー 
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