JAPAN PHOTOS by Philbert Ono

*Be sure to wear a mask when in crowds.


Last additions - Shonan Hiratsuka Tanabata Matsuri Festival 湘南ひらつか七夕まつり
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May 31, 2009
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The Hiratsuka Tanabata Matsuri also provides night illumination. This is something which the Tanabata Festival in Sendai does not do.May 31, 2009
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Shonan Hiratsuka Tanabata Matsuri poster for 2004.May 31, 2009
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Food stalls abound.May 31, 2009
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Write your wish for love here.May 31, 2009
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Tanabata originally had girls write their wishes for romance on strips of paper like these. They hung the paper on bamboo branches. Eventually, they used colored paper and the custom morphed into paper streamer decorations which we see today.May 31, 2009
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Snow White in TanabataMay 31, 2009
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They also have a Tanabata dance parade along the main street led by the Shonan Hiratsuka Orihime weavers. 湘南ひらつか織り姫.May 31, 2009
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Tanabata decoration made of plastic PET bottles.May 31, 2009
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Very creative.May 31, 2009
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This Tanabata decoration is made of plastic PET bottles.May 31, 2009
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You are not allowed to pull on the streamers or tear off any parts.May 31, 2009
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There are about 80 large Tanabata streamers on the main street called Shonan Star Mall.May 31, 2009
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Ai-chan, table tennis playerMay 31, 2009
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Shonan Hiratsuka Tanabata FestivalMay 31, 2009
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Kitajima Kosuke, breastroke swimmer who won gold at Athens.May 31, 2009
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SpringMay 31, 2009
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Signboard explaining the concept of the four-season streamers.May 31, 2009
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These four beautiful streamers represent the four seasons, from left to right, spring, summer, fall, and winter.May 31, 2009
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Inside one of the streamers. See the origami cranes.May 31, 2009
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Baseball coach Nagashima Shigeo and judoist Tamura RyokoMay 31, 2009
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In Japanese, these decorations are called take-kazari (literally bamboo decorations) since they are supported by bamboo poles. 竹飾りMay 31, 2009
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The 1st Hiratsuka Tanabata Matsuri was held in July 1951. Started by local merchants. Most Tanabata Matsuri in Japan are held in Aug. which is closer to the original July 7 date on the lunar calendar.May 31, 2009
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Very intricate streamers at Shonan Hiratsuka Tanabata Matsuri in early July.May 31, 2009
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In 1993, the festival was renamed from Hiratsuka Tanabata Matsuri to Shonan Hiratsuka Tanabata Matsuri. "Shonan" which is the beachside area in and around Kamakura.May 31, 2009
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The Tanabata streamers are made by local businesses who may spend a few hundred thousand to a few million yen to make these decorations. They compete in a contest and the winners receive good publicity.May 31, 2009
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July 7 is also during Japan's rainy season, so it is unusual to see Tanabata on July 7. As you can see here, it did rain a bit. The festival is now held by the city government.May 31, 2009
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Japanese Olympians going to Athens in 2004.May 31, 2009
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Until 2008, the festival used to be held on and around July 7, but now it is held for four days from the first Thursday of July. Depending on the year, July 7 might not fall within the festival period.May 31, 2009
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Held for four days from the first Thursday of July, this is one of the largest Tanabata Festivals in the Kanto region. Usually called the Star Festival, about 3,000 colorful streamers hang all around the city center in the shopping district.May 31, 2009
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Many Tanabata decorations feature current themes such as Japan's athletes going to the Olympics (in Athens in 2004 when this photo was taken).May 31, 2009
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Tanabata decoration for Genji Monogatari (Tale of Genji).May 31, 2009
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During the Shonan Hiratsuka Tanabata Festival, JR Hiratsuka Station on the Tokaido Line is festooned with Tanabata decorations.May 31, 2009
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Outside JR Hiratsuka StationMay 31, 2009
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JR Hiratsuka Station. Most of these pictures were taken in July 2004.May 31, 2009
 
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