Tanabata, The Star Festival

There I was, on the seventh of June, laying in my bed, sick. I wasn't feeling very sick, but I could feel it lingering inside me. I'd be damned, however, if I was gonna miss my very first Japanese festival at Tennoji. I sat up and prepared for an awesome day.

We didn't leave until later in the day. Festivals take place in the evening, after all. I helped Jackson put on his yukata. It only took us, like, 2 hours, and we probably got it wrong. Kilo and I just went in our street clothes, primarily because we didn't have yukata to wear.

We met at Fujiidera station, and waited quite a while for the girls to show up. I took pictures, of course, to pass the time.

Only in Japan

Once they arrived (most of them were wearing yukata, and looked great), we hopped on the train and walked about a mile to the temple.

It was nobody's secret that there was an event going on. Thick crowds of Japanese surrounded us as we wandered, checking out the various food stands.

We even met a nice old lady who helped us fix Jackson's yukata, and informed him that it was technically a ladies' yukata (he actually already knew, and was hoping nobody would notice). She seemed excited and amused to see foreigners there.

I made my way over to the official entrance, which we had failed to use. There were bamboo plants lined up, with hundreds of wishes written on tanzaku tied up. At least half of them were wishing their families a healthy life/year.

There were even misters set up at the entrance.

On the other side of the bamboo plants was...

The temple! And today it was open, so I could explore the inside for free.

I'm not sure what they were doing here on the inside, but if I had to guess, I would say it had something to do with honoring fallen ancestors, a la the Bon Festival.

I got some neat pictures, then headed back outside the temple wall.

"I wish to become better at Japanese"

I bought myself a tanzaku, and wrote my wish in my caveman-esque gaijin scribble of Japanese handwriting. I tied it to a less heavily-populated section near the top of the tree, while musing that if my wish doesn't come true, it would be most likely due to my penmanship.

A predictable wish, I know, but at least I didn't just wish my family a healthy life. I would hope that the gods have caught on to the fact that everybody wants that by now.

I passed the tents set up with childrens' games, which were very familiar to my anime-watching self. The surreal spectacle was also a dispiriting realization that I was long past the age to experience all of this first-hand. Oh, look, a doggie!

The owner of these dogs not only accepted my request
to take a picture, but also seemed really happy about it.

I admit, I was starting to get a little bored at this point. I wandered back through the hall of wishes tied to bamboo. As the sun laid its head to rest, the lights overhead began to sparkle in a truly dazzling manner.

I figured it was about time to get some food. I bought some karaage first, which is basicaly just popcorn chicken.

There was a live performance going on around the corner from all of the concessions stands. I stood and watched it for a moment, then decided to revisit some of the places I had seen at this temple nearly a month prior.

Most of the turtles were gone, perhaps under the bridge sleeping. Perhaps wearing Kilo's sunglasses.

I was ready for round two, so I got myself some yakisoba! This was definitely one of the highlights of the night. Yakisoba is good stuff. After eating with a couple friends from the program, we wandered around until we found the rest of the group. We sat around and talked for a long time, and took some pictures.

I had the idea for this picture. They thought it was weird.
They were right, I guess.

After standing around a while, we all decided it was time to part ways, and I was definitely ready to leave, as standing around was starting to cause turmoil in my stomach.

On the way home, we stopped at a drug store to get something to drink. I noticed this mystery drug, which seemed to have courage wolf printed on the front.

And that pretty much sums up that night. That was my last weekend with my friends in Osaka, but it was far from the last night. Next time I'll blog about our trip to the onsen! Also, yakiniku! If you don't know what either of those are, Google it, or just come read the next entry!

No comments:

Post a Comment