Photos taken at the Sendai Tanabata Festival last year - didn't get time until now to post it but better late than never - especially because you can catch this years festival in the next few weeks.
The festival takes place from August 6 - 8th in Sendai where literally zillions of Tanabata decorations will line the streets of the city.
Tanabata (七夕, meaning "Evening of the seventh") is a Japanese star festival, originating from the Chinese Qixi Festival. It celebrates the meeting of the deities Orihime and Hikoboshi (represented by the stars Vega and Altair respectively).
According to legend, the Milky Way separates these lovers, and they are allowed to meet only once a year on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month of the lunisolar calendar. The date of Tanabata varies by region of the country, but the first festivities begin on July 7 of the Gregorian calendar. The celebration is held at various days between July and August.
Sendai is located in the Tohoku region and was the biggest city to be most heavily hit by the 2011.03 Earthquake. I visited Tohoku to cover the earthquake relief efforts and then went back to Sendai to cover the festivities.
The festival was going to be cancelled just like most other events as many thought it was not appropriate to "have fun" during such a time. But Japan needed to be cheered up so many festivals like the Tanabata Festival went ahead which gave people the strength they needed to rebuild Japan.
Writings and photos of my visit to Tohoku are covered in the 201103 Earthquake category below.
Footage of the Tanabata Festival can be seen in the following episode of Culture Japan Season 2.
Lots of snacks to munch on while you walk around.
Went up to Tohoku with wifey who did a lot of the camera work ^o^
The decorations are called Fukinagashi ] streamers and come in all shapes and sizes.
Many folks writing a wish.
I love this pedestrian sign!
Started to rain a bit - rain is the mortal enemy of Fukinagashi.
Ramen for lunch.
The theme of the whole festival was "Recovery" (from the earthquake and tsunami) and many origami cranes were folded to signify many things including peace and recovery.
Messages gathered from the world.
Its ok to have this ecchi statue in public? Why to folks get uptight about ecchi figures then?
I love traditional Japan and you can see more of it in my new TV show called "Japan Mode" to be broadcast from September.
Sendai Tanabata festival in the Showa period.
Lots of traditional dancing can be seen in the streets too.
I think its time for more nomnoms.
Many of the Fukinagashi streamers are sponsored - these by KFC.
Some of the quake and tsunami damage.
Fukinagashi made from thousands of origami cranes. I made one of them too ^^
More messages of peace and hope.
Cigarettes with legs not allowed.
"After death there is punishment - the bible"
Date Masamune wine!
The "C" that you see facing different directions - its how the Japanese test your eye sight. At the machine you would use a lever to say whether its facing up, down, left or right. More info in the Japan Health Care post.
These streamers are sponsored by an opticians.