Tanabata can be traced back to the legend that two stars, Altair and Vega, were lovers separated by the Milky Way, and were allowed to meet on the seventh day of the seventh month every year. The festival consists of families writing wishes down on colored slips of paper called tanazaku and tying them to bamboo branches, then praying for the wishes to come true. The original festival came from China, and after being carried over to Japan, was adopted and altered by local traditions to become an official celebration (Nippon).
During the Tanabata celebration at Shofuso Japanese House and Garden, many visitors wrote and hung their own wishes on our bamboo branch. And now that the festival has ended, we decided to take a look at them. There were 97 total wishes, written in a variety of languages such as English, Japanese, Korean, and Spanish. The majority consisted of desires for health, happiness, and good fortune for family and friends, some wished for love, and a few for good grades. However, a few stood out from the rest, and so we’d like to present our personal favorites.
A soon-to-be-wed individual asked “Please let my wedding go off without a hitch!” presumably near to the date itself. While it is not bizarre for anyone to wish for the perfect scenario for their perfect day, it’s fun to take note of the excellent double entendre, whether the writer wished it to be so. Hitch is typically seen as a hiccup in a plan, but can also be used as a verb to get married. Whoever wrote this, well done!
This next one is actually two separate wishes, but they were close enough to warrant using both. The first, in English, reads “I wish I had a kiten,” while the other, in Japanese, reads 「いぬがほし」 or “I want a dog.” These two kids, were straight to the point, and the misspelling of kitten was too cute to handle. I’ll note that I’m assuming they’re children, but I think that’s a fair assumption.
Our third wish was a personal favorite of mine in particular. A young child wished for a toy, specifically saying “I want a blue ranger.” Now, anyone who had a childhood in the 90’s knows that he’s talking about a blue Power Ranger. However, why blue? It was fairly unanimous that as a kid, everyone wanted to be either Red or Black Ranger, until White Ranger was added later on. Fans of the Blue Ranger were hard to find (my brother’s Power Rangers birthday party was literally entirely Red Rangers), so it must be asked, why do they want the Blue Ranger?
Wishes for Japan
Another group of two, the penultimate entry is two separate wishes involving Japan. The first, in Japanese, reads 「日本がもっと元気になりますように」or “I hope Japan will get better.” The desire seems to come from a place of patriotism, as it mirrors the wish for a happy, healthy family, but for one’s home country. The second wish reads “I wish to go to Japan soon,” and it’s from a child. Personally, this sounds more like a desire to go home than a desire for a vacation, and it adds a sense of homesickness that just hits you right in the feels.
What Even Are Those?
The final wish comes from (I believe) another kid, and it’s probably my favorite. It just reads “I wish I had snow pawors.” I’ve got a lot of questions about this one. First, what are snow powers? Like Frozone from The Incredibles? Or Elsa from Frozen? Or just the ability to make it snow? Either way, I’m rooting for this kid, mostly to get an answer to my many questions.