JAPAN PHOTOS by Philbert Ono

*Be sure to wear a mask when in crowds.


Last additions - Sendai Tanabata Matsuri Festival 2009 仙台七夕まつり
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My YouTube video of Sendai Tanabata featuring the festival eve on Aug. 5, 2009 when they had fireworks and the morning of Aug. 6 when they were setting up the Tanabata decorations. Jun 06, 2010
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My YouTube video of Sendai Tanabata featuring Tanabata decorations and seeing the evening entertainment (Awa Odori, Tanabata dancers, etc.) on Jozenji-dori during 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm. Jun 06, 2010
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This one was clearly a crowd favorite, and not surprisingly, it won the Outstanding Award.Aug 11, 2009
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Korean performers.Aug 11, 2009
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Calligraphy brushes even.Aug 11, 2009
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Many decorations are really advertisements. But others have no ads and they are splendid. Keep in mind that the Tanabata Festival was started by local merchants, so it has commercial roots. It's not a religious event.Aug 11, 2009
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Tanabata appeals to all ages, from little kids to grandmothers.Aug 11, 2009
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On the evening of Aug. 5, the Tanabata Festival Eve, a fireworks display is held at Nishi Koen Park. Here are many girls in yukata waiting for friends at Sendai Station to see the fireworks.Aug 11, 2009
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Perhaps she wished for a rich husband.Aug 11, 2009
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Tanabata decorations at the entrance of Sendai Station.Aug 11, 2009
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Female lover in heavenAug 11, 2009
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The Orihime weaver.Aug 11, 2009
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Inside Sendai Station is a large information booth where you can obtain maps and pamphlets of Sendai and Tanabata Matsuri.Aug 11, 2009
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Closeups of one of the best take-kazari of 2009.Aug 11, 2009
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On the morning of Aug. 6, the first day of Sendai Tanabata, shop owners started to set up their tanabata bamboo decorations from around 8 am to 9 am.Aug 11, 2009
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DrillingAug 11, 2009
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SlinkyAug 11, 2009
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It says "No More Hiroshima."Aug 11, 2009
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These people are spreading the wings of the origami cranes.Aug 11, 2009
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Hoisting up the bamboo support pole.Aug 11, 2009
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This is the Hapina Nakakecho arcade. "Hapina" stands for "Heartful Amenity Place Interfaced Natural Arcade." It also refers to "happy." When the Japanese create a new name, they love puns.Aug 11, 2009
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Organizations who made the 1 million+ paper cranes. About 25,000 people from all over Japan from age 5 to 103 made over 1 million paper cranes. That's an average of 40 cranes per person.Aug 11, 2009
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Tanabata decorations outside S-PAL, a shopping complex next to Sendai Station.Aug 11, 2009
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Attaching ropes. The decorations will later be attached to these ropes.Aug 11, 2009
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In Sun Mall Ichibancho, a traditional kami-shibai picture card story was told.Aug 11, 2009
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This is Sun Mall Ichibancho. This Ichibancho-dori road is also straight, but consists of three seamless shopping arcades: Sun Mall Ichibancho, Brand Dome Ichibancho, and Ichibancho Yon-chome.Aug 11, 2009
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More performers.Aug 11, 2009
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On Aug. 4, two days before the start of Tanabata Festival, the shopping arcades already had these bamboo poles with ropes set up.Aug 11, 2009
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This was my second time to see Sendai Tanabata. The first time was quite some time ago. I had high expectations, and I was not disappointed.Aug 11, 2009
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Tanabata Matsuri is held in many parts of Japan, usually in shopping arcades to draw customers. The more famous ones are in Hiratsuka in Kanagawa and Asagaya in Tokyo.Aug 11, 2009
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Marble Road OmachiAug 11, 2009
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Gold Award + Outstanding Award.Aug 11, 2009
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The decorations usually arrive in huge plastic bags, especially the outdoor ones. This is the Fujisaki decoration.Aug 11, 2009
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Folk dancers for Tanabata OdoriAug 11, 2009
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This decoration had little owl-shaped paper balloons. These girls are blowing air into the balloons with a straw. Sendai Tanabata.Aug 11, 2009
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Back to Hapina arcadeAug 11, 2009
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In the Shimin Hiroba was also this space.Aug 11, 2009
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The take-kazari bamboo decorations were marvelous. A myriad of designs and variety. Paper was the main material used to make all these decorations, unlike the predominant plastic found at other Tamabata Festivals in Japan.Aug 11, 2009
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Silver Award. Besides awards for individual decorations, awards are given to the shopping arcade as a whole for the bext decorations.Aug 11, 2009
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During the morning of Aug. 6 the first day, a team of judges wearing a white cap and yellow shirt proceed through the decorations for judging. Dressed in pink is the back is one of the three Sendai Goodwill Ambassadors (not Miss Tanabata).Aug 11, 2009
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Matsushima photosAug 11, 2009
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Local cheerleaders included these kids.Aug 11, 2009
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Sun Mall IchibanchoAug 11, 2009
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Write your wish on a paper tag and affix it to the bamboo branch.Aug 11, 2009
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Milky Way streamers decorated the road.Aug 11, 2009
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Travel photos (Matsushima)Aug 11, 2009
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Fujisaki's decoration is at the T-intersection between Chuo-dori and Ichibancho-dori.Aug 11, 2009
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In the early morning, the tanabata decorations still hang high up. Aug 11, 2009
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The streamers can also be quite hypnotizing if not captivating.Aug 11, 2009
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Local cheerleaders were great.Aug 11, 2009
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Sun MallAug 11, 2009
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Sendai Tanabata Fireworks on Aug. 5, 7:30 pm to 9 pm. It was impressive. The theme was "Ring of Love."Aug 11, 2009
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After the festival ends, many of these decorations are discarded. But some are donated to a shopping arcade in Fukuoka (Kyushu). Aug 11, 2009
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Kids loved to jump and try to touch the streamers.Aug 11, 2009
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Setting up Tanabata bamboo decorations.Aug 11, 2009
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Ichiban-cho Yon-chome arcade is outdoors.Aug 11, 2009
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This large tanabata bamboo was being set up on Aug. 4.Aug 11, 2009
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Extravagant AwardAug 11, 2009
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Later in the morning at around 9 am, these decorations will be hung normally again.Aug 11, 2009
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Hapina arcadeAug 11, 2009
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The pedestrian overpass connected to Sendai Station is also decorated.Aug 11, 2009
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Local cheerleadersAug 11, 2009
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Types of tanabata decorations.Aug 11, 2009
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This was the 34th Tanabata Decoration of Peace. Aug. 6, the first day of the Sendai Tanabata Matsuri, also happens to be the anniversary of the Hiroshima atomic bombing.Aug 11, 2009
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Nishi Park in Sendai is full of people on fireworks night.Aug 11, 2009
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People who wear yukata know how to enjoy each of Japan's seasons.Aug 11, 2009
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A few local high school bands also played.Aug 11, 2009
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Date MasamuneAug 11, 2009
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The decorations are given awards such as the Gold and Silver Awards. The winners are announced later in the day, and the winning decorations are tagged with the awards. This is the Gold Award.Aug 11, 2009
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At around 9 pm, the tanabata decorations are put in plastic bags or hung high so drunkards cannot reach and damage them.Aug 11, 2009
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North Korean abductee, MegumiAug 11, 2009
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It's nearly impossible to define or describe an outstanding decoration, but you know it when you see it.Aug 11, 2009
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When the decorations are unpacked or unraveled, they are freshened up. Aug 11, 2009
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At night.Aug 11, 2009
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Also here is a cramped enclave of many little bars and shops.Aug 11, 2009
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Pieces of bamboo hung from the ropes on bamboo poles.Aug 11, 2009
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One bamboo pole has several decorations and each one hangs on a rope.Aug 11, 2009
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It rained sometimes during the Tanabata Festival since the Tohoku region was still in the rainy season.Aug 11, 2009
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These decorations cannot be massed produced, all one of a kind.Aug 11, 2009
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International decorationAug 11, 2009
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There is no longer a Tanabata Parade in the evening. Instead of a parade, there are various performances at several areas on the main street of Jozenji-dori during 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm every evening during Aug. 6-8.Aug 11, 2009
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You can see Tanabata in various locations (smaller scale) in Japan such as Hiratsuka in Kanagawa held around July 7 and Asagaya and Fussa in Tokyo around Aug. 7.Aug 11, 2009
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Another crowd favorite was these streamers made of tiny origami paper cranes. Aug 11, 2009
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No smoking in the shopping arcades.Aug 11, 2009
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You could write a wish on the paper and hang it on the bamboo branch. I wrote "Live long and prosper."Aug 11, 2009
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Hip hopAug 11, 2009
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This was the main performance area on Jozenji-dori.Aug 11, 2009
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Peace message.Aug 11, 2009
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Tokushima Awa Odori dancers at Sendai Tanabata Matsuri Festival.Aug 11, 2009
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Male lover in heavenAug 11, 2009
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Kids writing their wishes.Aug 11, 2009
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The herdsman and weaver meet in the Milky Way.Aug 11, 2009
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By 10 am on the first day of Aug. 6, most all of the Tanabata decorations were set up. Large crowds soon followed.Aug 11, 2009
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Also see my YouTube video here.Aug 11, 2009
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A short walk from Jozenji-dori is the Shimin Hiroba (Citizens' Square) where there was a stage for more entertaining performances by numerous groups. The program started at 6 pm and ended at 8:45 pm.Aug 11, 2009
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Origami paper cranes is actually one type of Tanabata decorations. Many decorations had paper cranes as you can see here.Aug 11, 2009
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Different performances are given every evening during the Tanabata Matsuri. If you want good seats, go there early. Otherwise, it's standing room only.Aug 11, 2009
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Bottom viewAug 11, 2009
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Bottom of the paper cranes.Aug 11, 2009
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Koi fish made of tiny balls stuck onto the paper.Aug 11, 2009
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Also see my YouTube video here.Aug 11, 2009
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Many girls (and kids) dressed in yukata (cotton kimono) came to see the Tanabata Festival. Her facial reaction was typical.Aug 11, 2009
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Interview by local TV.Aug 11, 2009
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International decorationAug 11, 2009
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Where I was, Tokushima Awa Odori dancers performed first.Aug 11, 2009
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Hip hopAug 11, 2009
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The crowd take pictures in front of this Outstanding Award decoration.Aug 11, 2009
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Taiko drummersAug 11, 2009
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The walls also have eyelets/hooks for ropes to support the bamboo poles.Aug 11, 2009
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I like these American-style costumes.Aug 11, 2009
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Photos of sushi on a sushi shop's decoration.Aug 11, 2009
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Tiny origami paper cranes. Guess how many paper cranes there are? Over 1 million.Aug 11, 2009
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Attaching the ball to the body of the decoration.Aug 11, 2009
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People were amazed at these cranes. This is one type of streamer you won't see at other Tanabata Festivals in Japan.Aug 11, 2009
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This road was filled with people as well for the fireworks.Aug 11, 2009
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The shopping arcades on the west side of Sendai Station is where the Tanabata decorations are. The main arcades where you can see the streamers are basically on two arcade roads: Chuo-dori and Ichibancho-dori. They intersect at a T-intersection.Aug 11, 2009
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Sendai's shopping arcades were obviously designed for tanabata decorations. There are eyelets or hooks for ropes on the ceiling.Aug 11, 2009
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Origami paper cranes.Aug 11, 2009
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The Chuo-dori arcade is about 750 meters long. Although this arcade is a straight and continuous road, it is actually consists of three seamless arcades named Hapina Nakakecho (ハピナ名掛丁), Clis Road, and Marble Road Omachi.Aug 11, 2009
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There was also a ballet play featuring the herdsman and weaver who meet in the heavens on July 7.Aug 11, 2009
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Taiko drummersAug 11, 2009
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Also see my YouTube video here.Aug 11, 2009
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The decorations can cost thousands of dollars or even tens of thousands of dollars (US$). (Hundreds of thousands of yen or a few million yen.) Aug 11, 2009
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PuppetsAug 11, 2009
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The yukata has become quite modern. You no longer have to put your hair up when wearing one.Aug 11, 2009
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Eye-catching trio of yukata-clad girls.Aug 11, 2009
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For people outside Japan wanting to make tanabata decorations for a Japan event, let these photos give you some design ideas.Aug 11, 2009
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Regular-size paper cranes.Aug 11, 2009
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According to the legend, the original date of Tanabata is July 7 according to the lunar calendar which is about a month behind the calendar we use today. Some places hold the festival on July 7 to match the original, numeric date.Aug 11, 2009
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Inside Sendai Station's west side. A great greeting for visitors to Sendai during Tanabata Matsuri.Aug 11, 2009
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During the Tohoku Industrial Expo in 1928, the forerunner of today's Tanabata Festival was held. Sendai merchants strived to uphold the tradition, resulting in today's elaborate and gaudy Tanabata decorations.Aug 11, 2009
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In Sendai, famous daimyo Date Masamune had the warrior and merchant classes observe the Star Festival. Aug 11, 2009
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This angered her father who banished the herdsman to the other side of the Milky Way. He allowed the two to meet only once a year on the evening of the seventh day of the seventh month (according to the lunar calendar). Aug 11, 2009
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The weaver is represented by the Vega star and the herdsman by the Altair star. As a prayer to produce better arts and crafts, the Imperial Court and the warrior class paid homage to these two stars from ancient times. This practice spread to the masses.Aug 11, 2009
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The festival is said to have originated from a Star Festival in China. According to Chinese legend, east of the Milky Way there was a Heavenly King whose daughter worked as a weaver. However, when she married a herdsman, she quit weaving. Aug 11, 2009
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Held annually during Aug. 6-8, the Sendai Tanabata Matsuri is Japan's largest, grandest, and most famous Tanabata Festival. Commonly called the Star Festival, Tanabata Matsuri features large colorful, streamer decorations (called take-kazari).Aug 11, 2009
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I arrived in Sendai on Aug. 4, 2009, two days before the festival, and Sendai Station here was already decorated with these huge tanabata streamers. Very impressive.Aug 11, 2009
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Many of the Tanabata streamers are quite commercial, with sponsors prominently displayed on the streamers.Aug 11, 2009
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