Make a wish on Tanabata

Japanese people make wishes not only Christmas but also Tanabata. People write their wishes on strips of paper and hang them from bamboo branches, which is said to make their wishes come true. And wishes are more likely to come true if it is written in China ink that has been rubbed with dewdrops from yam leaves.

We received a bamboo branch from Chokokuji temple, so we prepared many decorations. However, the kittens got carried away and went on a rampage, throwing branches and tearing off decorations. On the morning of Tanabata, when I went out to the field to collect “dew of Yams” which is used for rubbing ink-cake, the kittens played with yam leaves and spilled a lot of dew from the leaves.

Although our Tanabata month began with a hectic battle with the kitten gang, we are enjoying Tanabata decorations about a month from the 7th of July to the lunar calendar’s Tanabata.

The strips of paper with wishes on them were moistened by the rain, blown by the wind, and dried out again by the strong sunlight… Colorful decorations are dancing in the harsh environment. So wind, rain, and cats sometimes dislodged paper strips. I wonder how many times they had to be re-tied.

I look at them, thinking that the wishes that have sprouted in their hearts are just like these strips of paper. Wishes that will never come true, that are impossible, that are futile…. Wishes that sway in waves of emotion. But as I re-examine my heart over and over again, I feel the eyes of my heart looking at those wishes change to something strangely quiet and warm.

When I post the above image on SNS, followers told me
their memories. A person said that he collected dewdrops from leaves of yams in his mother’s hometown, the other person also shared that he went to the fields with his siblings to get dewdrops.

I felt comforted by the opportunity to hear such memorable stories. Thank you very much.

I hope that this year’s Tanabata will be a good memory for all of you. And may your wishes come true.