Monday, July 07, 2008

Shimizu Tanabata Matsuri

Summer is here! It's time to celebrate some summer fest like the annual Tanabata Matsuri which is also known as Japanese Star Festival. It was originated more than 2,000 years ago with an old Chinese tale called Kikkoden.
The legend is a love story of two stars, named Orihime, a weaver princess and a cow herder prince named Hikoboshi living in space.
They fell in love and neglected their works. The emperor got angry at them and separated them on opposite sides of the Amanogawa River... the Milky Way. The emperor allowed them to reunite only once a year on July 7th.
This is why Tanabata is also called the Star Festival and being celebrated every July 7th (Some regions celebrate every August 7th). People says that Orihime and Hikoboshi can't meet each other if July 7th is rainy, so they pray for good weather and also make wishes for themselves.
Tanabata festival are held all over Japan. Here in Shizuoka, the Shimizu Tanabata Matsuri is a well known fest. This year it was held last July 4~7.
Last Saturday afternoon, I went there with Amie and Liza by train. The festival was covered with large, attractive, colorful streamers, lanterns, puppets, fairy tale characters and many more. Some of the huge and colorful streamersThe Dog of Flanders' lanternColorful animals' lanternStich and Lilo characterFor the coming Olympic in China... NIPPON GANBARE!Chibi Maruko chan... the original of Shimizu! Doll images of some recent popular comedians in Japan
Some Disney characters

Tropical sceneOutdoor stalls, games, stage shows add atmosphere to the festival.

Below is a toy stall↓Food stall ↓

Part of the celebration is by writing wishes to a small colored papers known as TANSAKU and hang it on bamboo with some other decorations in the hope that wishes become true.

Below is our wishes! ↓

Gorgeous Tanabata decorations

Tanabata streamers

Paper crane for health, safety and long life.

Snoopy character

We had fun walking through the long streamers and enjoyed the beautiful decorations.  I don't know how many kilometers we walked from Shimizu Station up to the end of Ginza shopping mall. We end up when we felt that our feet hurts already so we decided to go back to Shizuoka. Upon reaching Parche... we all had some rest and snacks in Jourdan! What a day!

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