There's a lot of festivity this month! Next on the celebratory hitlist is Tanabata, the Japanese star festival on July 7th. The legend goes that two separated lovers (the stars Altair and Vega) are allowed to meet each other only on this night... awwww... romantic huh? The occasion is celebrated with a summer festival, and people tying poems, prose or wishes to the branches of bamboo trees.
Our Japanese class decked out in Tanabata wear and lookin' spiffy. See the lady on the far right in the blue? That's Fumie my teacher who's slowly but steadily improved the level of my Japanese from 'non-existent' to 'existent but bad'. Quite the achievement.
Luckily, we had the staff of our Japanese language program to explain this to us, this week we forgoed our regularly scheduled lessons in exchange for a Tanabata party, allowing the girls to get decked out in classy kinomos and the rest of us to eat some traditional sweets and write out some wishes; my three this year are (in no particular order):
A pair of shoes that FIT.
The ability to control my kid's classes through sheer force of will.
Really, I'll settle for one out of three. The most nerve-wracking part of the festivities was having to give a short speech in Japanese talking about yourself. Luckily I had my teacher Fumie to polish out my grammar mistakes and brief me on how to pronounce everything, domo arigato Fumie-sensei!
Post festival celebrations (the day after actually) I jumped on a bus down to Fukuoka to help Katy get her Birthday celebratory vibe on. Amanda pulled off some stellar organization and a fabulous array of Mexican food, we cracked out and carved up a candle laden watermelon (how Japanese huh?) Then we went down to the park for some more firework-themed shenanigans (wooo! I still have all my fingers, that's 2 for 2!) We stayed up sipping champagne and pontificating about life until the wee hours then eventually retired for some much needed kip.
Katy with her birthday watermelon (tea-lights included), tasty AND far healthier than the traditional calorie-loaded 'cake' alternative; Japanese ingenuity scores again!
I spent much of the afternoon hanging around Amandas place while she was out, taking the opportunity to read my way through some more Haruki Murakami, this time it was South of the Border, West of the Sun, which gets high marks from me for noirish atmosphere and visualization but lost out a little in the actual 'storytelling' sense; I'll still give it a recommendation though since you can read the whole thing in under 4 hours.
Getting festive in the park; we danced like nobody was watching. Unfortunately, someone was. Damn you Amanda! ;)
In the afternoon I grabbed a coach back to Sasebo to do dinner with Laura and Lani and reaffirm my testosterone filled manliness with a cinematic session of Die Hard 4.0, awesomely cinema's in Japan don't suffer hangups about allowing food or beverages onto their premises, so we grabbed a six pack and proceeded to sup our way through it as Mr. Willis got progressively more violent and blood stained in his pursuit of justice. Afterwards we went down to the local park and climbed onto a gazebo roof and watched the fish jump in the horribly polluted river while we philosophized. Very Dawson's Creek, no? :P
Now of course it's time to start another work week. Hooray. Yay. Woo AND Hoo. Pass the tie and call me 'sensei', I've got a whole bag of grammar, vocab and listening skills to teach before next Sunday!
Starlight and love,