Last Saturday, between the JLPT and the Leavers’ Party, I went from the capital city all the way up north to a city called Nobeoka. I have had tutoring there every week for the past month or so in preparation for the JLPT. After tutoring and a great lunch, I headed back to my city’s station. When I arrived and exited the station, I realized that I had stumbled into my city’s Tanabata Festival.
According to Wikipedia, “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 Altairrespectively). 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.”
The whole story is really cool so I encourage you to look it up if you’re interested. Anyway, I ended up being a bit early for the festival, so I hung out and took pictures until it started. The decorations were created by local elementary schools and preschools (mostly by the schools’ teachers).