Just returned yesterday from our own local Tanabata Festival!
The Hulon city council with the help of the Japanese embassy arranged our own Tanabata festival with most of the original Japanese Tanabata customs.
Tanabata is a Japanese holiday celebrated on the 7th of July, although some traditions and celebrations are also take place a month after. There are various stories about the origination of Tanabata’s celebration. The stories are about Tanabata and Mikeran who fall in love, separated and allowed to see each other only once a year.
I intentionally got earlier to the festival to check out the preparations and get some shots of what’s going on and what’s it going to be.
The festival took place in-doors. The place wasn’t so small, but if comparing to the festivals in Japan, the festival takes place outside in the street with much more stands and attractions and can last for a few days.
The big and welcoming sign says “Tanabata Japan Festival”. The small sign on the left says “Do not cross” – Luckily there’s no celebrations there…
There were tables for “go”, a known Japanese game (which by the way, originally came from China). The game is played on a board of 19 by 19 lines where 2 opponents play with black and white stones and the point of the game is to block your opponent’s way through with your stones.
After the festival began, it became pretty crowded, so I was glad I got to arrive before that to get some snapshots. Also there were few ladies wearing yukata but they disappeared before I could take a nice picture.
This nice lady is Nanako-san. She was at the advertisements stand (I guess you can call it that). She was handing out the visitors all kinds of brochures about the customs in Japan, Japanese culture, trends and products available in Japan and many interesting others…
This is a handy little book! It should help me when I’m there…
One of Japan’s famous subjects is the bullet trains. The train map of Japan tells there’s even an express line that crosses almost all of the country, I put it on my “things to try” list.
Did you try it sometime? Or if not, would you like to?
This is the Japanese cell phone you usually see in anime that characters have. Now I finally know why they have this phone and what are it’s features. Personally I never saw in anime a character having an iPhone or some kind of powerful Nokia, unless in an anime where the emphasis is on technology, did you? (Check out a larger version of the phone)
The idea here is to grab a certain kanji from the bowl and then the ladies of the stand tell you what is it called and what it means in Japanese and you can keep it for yourself to put it on your key chain or hang near the window or something like that. That was fun and cost only 5 shekels a piece. I got myself 光 (hikari = light) & I got myself 笑 (warau = laugh). One for the key chain, I think and one I’ll probably hang somewhere in the house.
There even was arranged a wishes tree. One of the customs on Tanabata is that you write down your wish on a paper strip (短冊 = tanzaku) and hang it on a bamboo tree. Will the wish come true? I don’t know yet, but I did write mine.
And how can you manage without food… You got it!
The festival sold a little bit of Japanese custom foods, mostly sushi, but also drinks, noodles soup, Japanese beers, alcoholic drinks and special wooden plates to serve the sushi by the tradition. There was no Ramen or Curry but opportunity gave the visitors a small idea of what is there good to taste in Japan, just in case they get hungry…
For the ones of you who like it spicy, there was a whole container of wasabi to go with your sushi. I remember the last time I tried wasabi I drank a whole 1-liter bottle of water in about 2 seconds, so I guess wasabi is not for me. Do you like your sushi with some wasabi?
And these are some Japanese beers, there were 2 kinds on the festival and that (unlike the idea in the previous photo) I’ll be sure to try.
“Ozeki Sake” is a Japanese alcoholic drink, not so strong though. I gave it a try, after which I got me-self a bottle for special occasions.
Two visitors from Japan, I guess, arrived at the festival as well. I kindly asked them for a picture and they kindly agreed. After that, there was my chance to be try out my Japanese that I learned over the last 2 months and say a simple thank you. I lowered down my camera, nodded with my head to show them I’m done and then said “Domo arigato gozaimasu” (Thank you very much) and the person on the right replied “Arigato gozaimasu” to me and bowed 0_0
I forgot to bow with my “thank you”. So I walked away with a smile and felt like an impolite non-Japanese person who said “Arigato gozaimasu”. Bummer but nice try though It was my first time.
So basically, I had much fun at the festival. I received this event on facebook and glad I did! If you would like to attend events like this in the future, be sure to check out the My Stuff facebook page and twitter because I will be publishing other stuff like this in the future…