So, we met on Tanabata! [Solo] Apr 15, 2022 16:07:05 GMT
Post by Deleted on Apr 15, 2022 16:07:05 GMT
Tonight was when it all happened. July 7th.
A pretty normal day, in most of the world. In Japan, it was a festival day; a day for celebration. Even then, what happened today, wasn’t like anything that had happened to anyone else... that she currently knew of. A whole new world was about to open up.
The Star Festival had begun, and all around Miyashita Park. Many stalls of all sizes, colors and styles had been opened. All the classic games; goldfish scooping and water gun shooting. Not to mention, the hundreds of delicious-smelling food stands. Stands with silly designed masks dotted in-between. Himiko had been forced into a Kimono by her Grandparents and sent to have fun. Although, she wasn’t exactly… so good… in… social situations…
Halfway down the street, a small tent was open. Within it was a man who was crouched behind a small wooden platform. Above it, he moved a series of elegantly carved, oaken puppets on strings. Many children and even some adults were sat, cross-legged, beneath the platform. Himiko paused to listen to the tale as it was spoken and acted out by the puppeteer.
“Once upon a time, a woman named Orihime and a Hikoboshi lived across a river of the heavens. Orihime weaved the most beautiful kimonos while Hikoboshi worked hard herding cattle. Orihime’s father, the God of the Sky, was looking for a marriage partner for his daughter. Eventually, he introduced her to Hikoboshi, a hard worker. Hikoboshi and Orihime fell in love at once and became husband and wife.
But they fell so deeply in love that they began to neglect their duties. All of the Kimonos lost their colors and weren’t beautiful anymore. All the cows got sick and caused a famine across the land. God was angry and forced them to live separate from one another across the Heavenly River as punishment. However, God, who pitied the grieving Orihime, permitted that the two meet each other at the shores of the heavenly river only one night of the year, July 7.”
Himiko had heard this story many times in the past from her Grandfather. It was one of his favorite stories, as a fan of romance.
“They worked hard afterward in preparation for the day, and they wait expectantly for the Star Festival every year. However, unfortunately, the date of Tanabata is in the rainy season, so if it rains on that night, the only chance when Hikoboshi and Orihime can meet all year, the Heavenly River will be flooded with rainwater. Both lovers will be unable to meet each other. But it is said that when the river overflows, a Magpie flies to help them.
When you look up in the sky at night, you will be able to find their stars and the Milky Way. The Heavenly River represents the Milky Way, the galaxy containing the solar system and our Earth. Orihime’s star represents Vega which is located to the west of the Milky Way, one of the brightest stars. Hikoboshi’s star represents Altair, which is located to the east of the Milky Way. When you find their stars, think about the story of Orihime and Hikoboshi.”
The puppeteer finished the story and stood. Bowing to the audience before pointing to a series of very young-looking bamboo plants that had been placed to one side of the tent.
“There are Tanabata festivals held a day before July 7th, and a day afterward in every region of Japan. People write their wishes on colorful paper strips and hang them on bamboo branches. So everyone, grab yourself a card and write down your wishes.”
The children rushed forward to do as the man suggested. Running back to their parents and whispering surreptitiously into their ears before running back to hang the small pieces of card on a branch. Himiko was considering joining it, but stepped away from the tent. Her face slightly red, not even sure what she would want to wish for.
For great happiness for her family, perhaps? Or, for her home to be left without the threat of a bulldozer tearing through it. Both of these were good ideas. But she couldn’t quite push herself to join in.
“Excuse me, young lady. Don’t you want to join in too?”
Himiko jumped and turned around. The puppeteer was looking at her with a concerned look upon his face. “You okay, young lady? You’re looking a little pale?”
She nodded her head and stepped backwards. Almost bumping into someone standing right behind her who caught her and put her back on her feet. “Um… I guess I can,” Himiko muttered in a voice so low. It was astonishing that the man could hear it.