On the 7th July, the Japanese believe that it is the only day that Princess Hime and her Prince are able to reunite. The legend says that Princess Hime was a master weaver but was sad because of how lonely she was. When her father, God of the Heavens, set her up with Hikoboshi (a cow herder from the other side of the Milky Way), they fell in love. However they loved each other so much that they both neglected their work which in turn angered her father so much that he separated them by sending Hikoboshi to the other side of the Milky Way. Princess Hime was so saddened by this that her father agreed to let them meet once a year on the 7th day of the 7th lunar month which is none other than the 7th of July. They're the O.G star crossed lovers.
On Tanabata, the Japanese wish for good weather because if the skies are not clear it is said that the magpies that create the bridge of which they meet on do not come to the lover's aid. Wishes are made by writing on small pieces of coloured paper called tanzaku which is then tied to bamboo trees. These trees are beautiful as hell when they are filled with wishes. Tanzaku can be filled with whatever wish the person chooses and I was lucky enough to write more than one wish. Tanabata is a three day festival so Miho took me on Sunday to the street festival where I got to see all the beautiful decorations (shown in the video above). It was such a surreal atmosphere to be in because I've seen so many photos of places like this but living through it is a whole other sensation. I found myself full of gratitude to be living through something as beautiful as Kanagawa's Tanabata Festival. There's also a sense of humility in seeing yourself as apart of something bigger that comes from appreciating another culture's customs and beliefs. It reminds you that the world is bigger than what you experience and allows you to see the bigger picture.
I'm real blessed to be in Japan at the time of Tanabata because I have a love for stars and culture so it was the perfect thing for me after celebrating Matariki back home. Like the tea ceremony, it's so interesting to draw similarities and differences between different cultures because at the end of the day culture is representative of people. Connections through culture are connections of people and a reoccurring affirmation this trip is giving me is that human connection is so damn beautiful. Seeing, acknowledging and internalising that is essential in a world where it feels like connection is scarce, especially with all the crazy things that are happening in the world. Thank you to my homestay family for taking me to Tanabata and thank you to my friends for making it such a fun experience!
And in case you were wondering, the skies were clear.
I hope you can find the moments in life that remind you of how beautiful being connected is,
Ayyy wassup fellow dudes and dudettes! My name is Aigagalefili a.k.a Fili, a Samoan bred, Southside bound kid who's gonna be travelling to Jishukan High School in Kanagawa, Japan. Follow the Chronicles of an International Ka'a if you down with it.