*** tanabata ***

today is a special day. it’s the tanabata festival. once a year, two stars, ori-hime (vega) and hiko-boshi (altair), are allowed to meet in the milky way.

on this day in japan, people write their wishes on colourful paper and hang them on bamboo trees. some people will put on their yukata (summer kimonos) to take part in the festival. the rustling of bamboo leaves brings a cool atmosphere to the hot summer night.

paul and i were lucky enough to see the tanabata festival in sendai while we were hitchhiking south from sapporo, hokkaido back in 2003. in fact, we made it to all three major summer festivals in tohoku that year: the nebuta festival (aomori) , the kanto festival (akita), and the sendai tanabata festival (miyagi).

we walked through hundreds of streamers in the shopping arcade. everyone ducked and walked through them full of joy. many stores in the arcade were having sidewalk sales. it was a very lively and romantic night.

today i made “tanabata” jello with a star. the star and the base of the jello are made of an’nin tofu (almond flavored tofu). the jello is plain gelatin with one single drop of blue food colouring in it. that’s why it’s so pale, instead of bright neon blue like gatorade or something.

i remember having jello with a star as a dessert for kyushoku (elementary school lunch). i always kept the star for the last bite :)

if you see the milky way tonight, close your eyes, make a wish, and count to three…