“This is Japan” is a weekly blog post where I talk a little about my life here.

It’s a place where I can share some of the strange, funny, or thought-provoking stories from my week. You can learn a little about what it is like to live in Japan and some of the weird and wonderful things here.

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Happy Friday, friends!

Today is a sort of-holiday in Japan. I say sort of because nobody gets the day off work or anything like that. But it’s on the calendar nonetheless. Like Mother’s Day or Father’s Day.

July 7 in Japan is Tanabata.

Tanaba is based on a story of two literal star-crossed lovers. It goes something like this:

There was a diety named Orihime who worked hard for her father weaving cloths. She could not meet a boy and fall in love because she was always working. So her father arranged for her to meet Hikoboshi.

When they met, they fell madly in love. So much so, each of them could not concentrate on their jobs. Orihime’s father was angry and separated them from each other with the Milky Way. Now they could never meet each other.

Orihime was so upset, her father had pity on her. He allowed them to meet once a year if she worked hard at her weaving. The day they were allowed to meet was the 7th day of the 7th month.

The lovers are represented by the two stars Vega and Altair. These two stars meet once a year on July 7 at the Milky Way. But if it is rains, it is said that they cannot meet and have to wait another year.

Thus, Tanabata is also called the Star Festival

Tanabata is a tragically romantic story.

In Japan, people celebrate Tanabata by writing a wish on a piece of coloured paper and tying it to a bamboo branch.

When I was working at an elementary school in Japan, the kids would do this with their class. There would be branches outside all the classrooms, decorated with wishes.

Apparently at the end of Tanabata, the bamboo tree is either burned or send afloat down a river. I have not witnessed this. It sounds like it would be interesting to see though.

Yesterday I found this Tanabata tree at my school. As you can see, even university students like to make a wish. I read some of them. They want friends, boyfriend/girlfriend, MONEY, pass tests, things like that.



In other news,

You may have noticed that there are ads on my blog now. Yes, I put them there, but I haven’t figured out how to control where they go. So it’s a bit ugly right now, but bear with me while (if) I try and figure things out.

** Update: I took the ads off because they were ugly.

In other other news,

I’m trying to figure out how to use Pinterest. I don’t really know what I’m doing at this point.

Tanabata Star Festival - On July 7th in Japan, two lovers have the chance to meet at the Milky Way. Click through to read the story!

Anyway, feel free to follow me on Pinterest as I try and figure it out.


Read: This is Japan 18: Canada Day poutine in Japan


    • Ah! Thank you! I was going to nominate you for an award too! I have it all written up already, and I was going to post it in a week or two or sometime this month. I still will. Teehee, we nominate each other.

  1. Tanabata. Another word to add to my little kitty of Japanese words that I am culling from you. Thanks Jen! These stories and beliefs add such depth to one’s culture and way of living. They are fascinating.

    • Good to hear you are picking up some Japanese words from my posts. I was thinking about when I wrote this story (not weird, right?) – I hoped you would like the story of the two star-crossed lovers.

      • I am happy to hear that and I like weird 😛 But it is not weird in the least. I loved the story, Jen. These are the kind of stories that make it worthwhile xx

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