Tanabata - Kofu-shi
The Tanabata festival took place in a large outdoor mall area. It covered several square blocks, and people flocked to the food and game stalls crammed into the narrow streets and walkways. One of the biggest attractions was a large net where you could tie your tanzaku. Tables were set up so that the masses of people could write out their wishes for the future on the pieces of paper. The kids enjoyed candied apples, and my students tell me that it is a tradition for them to eat candied apples on Tanabata. Many said it was their favorite part. Women in yukata were everywhere, and even a few men got into the spirit. Many children were also dressed in colorful yukata, their parents proudly parading them around. Hot smoke and steam rose from the food carts and stalls, and the humid summer air was stifling. Decorative fans could be seen waving through the crowd, but they did not offer much relief. Long stalks of bamboo arched overhead, hung with colorful papers and lanterns. Giant paper lantern-like decorations hung from the ceiling, their tails made of long and colorful streamers. As the sun set, the clouds began to disperse, and it made one wonder of the power of love.