Tanabata (July 7, 7/7) is a celebration when, according to a Chinese legend, the Vega and Altair stars (who are lovers), can meet for one night each year. The river of stars (Milky Way) gets low enough so the bridge connecting their habitats can be crossed, and they get to be all romantic with each other.
I went to Hiratsuka for this with my hostmother, her friend, and my friend (and my hostmother's friend's hostdaughter) Emily. While there, Emily was lucky enough to have a kimono bought for her by her hostmother.
A popular thing to do is to write your wish on a piece of paper and tie it to a bamboo tree. I saw an interesting one asking for "May I finish [college] in four years", in the same grammatical fashion as we Christians say "Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven" (a non-forceful imperative).
I also chatted up some Japanese man whose wife was making chijimi (Korean pancakes) to sell. He had lived in Israel in his youth, and thus could speak English, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish (which we conversed in for about a minute), Korean (of course, since his wife is Korean), and a few others he knew a smattering of. It was fun, and watching his wife chastise him was funny. "What the hell are you doing?" she yelled at him, when he wasn't paying enough attention to the cooking pancakes.
That reminds me of the chijimi I went and ate at a Korean friend's apartment a few weeks ago. I'll have to write about it sometime. This paragraph is here so I don't forget about it.
In any case, we finally came back, and I had the weekend to relax and go to Harajuku, which will be the subject of my next posting.