Thursday, July 7, 2011


a little asian history, japanese culture lesson from me today.  Tanabata is celebrated here by people making simple wishes on paper strips and hanging them from huge bamboo stalks, eessentially making a wish tree.  i forgot how beautiful this holiday is and wanted to share it all with you.  the kids at the elementary school had a ceremony this morning and gathered around the huge bamboo stalk that they had decorated and hung wishes on and sang.  of course i stood there watching and crying knowing that it would be the last time i would see these kids performing this ceremony.  what a wonderful moment i got to be a part of.  what a wonderful time in our lives we have been able to share over the last two years.  i didnt expect to feel this way when i left here, but deep down i knew i would.  i have grown so attached to these kids and these teachers and this community.  they have welcomed me and shared their beautiful lives and island with me, letting me make it my home too.  i know that change keeps us moving in life and gives us strength and character, but why does it have to be so hard?

The following variation of the story of Tanabata is known in China and Japan: A young farmer named Mikeran discovered on his farm a robe which, unbeknownst to him, belonged to a goddess named Tanabata. Soon after, Tanabata visited Mikeran and asked if he had found it. He lied and told the goddess that he hadn't but would help with her search. Eventually the pair fell in love, were wed and had many children. However, one day Tanabata noticed a piece of cloth which had once belonged to her robe on the roof of Mikeran's hut. His lie discovered, Tanabata agreed to forgive him on the condition that he weave a thousand pairs of straw shoes, but until that time, she would leave him. Mikeran was unable to weave the shoes in his lifetime and thus never met Tanabata again. However, it is said that the pair meet once a year when the stars Altair and Vega intersect.
Tanabata song:

Sasa no ha sara-sara (笹の葉 さらさら)

Nokiba ni yureru (軒端にゆれる)

Ohoshi-sama kira-kira (お星様 キラキラ)

Kingin sunago (金銀砂子)


The bamboo leaves rustle,

shaking away in the eaves.

The stars twinkle;

Gold and silver grains of sand
i will always keep the memory of these children as they were this morning; busy minds working over the present, quiet hearts contemplating the future and eyes that were asking the world for kindness.  it is my Tanabata wish that they will find this kindness and so much more in life.  it is my Tanabata wish that this beautiful country will rise from the hardships we have faced this year and find new ways to thrive.  it is my Tanabata wish that safety and health will follow those i love and me as we journey on through this magical thing called life.
make a wish and see it through, you never know it might come true...
love to you all out there. 

No comments:

Post a Comment