Hari ini bermula Persidangan Ketua Kerajaan G8 di Toyako, Hokkaido. Di dalam berita hangat membincangkan persoalan yang akan dibincangkan oleh ketua2 kerajaan seperti kawalan kadar perlepasan karbon dioksida yang sepatutnya mengikut peratusan yang telah ditetapkan pada Protokol Kyoto, masalah kenaikan harga minyak, bahan makanan dan lain2. Ditunjukkan juga penunjuk perasaan yang menyampaikan bantahan kepada US yang hingga kini tidak serius menangani kadar pelepasan CO2. Kerajaan US masih berkeras kepala mengatakan jika ingin meneruskan kawalan perlepasan CO2, ketua kerajaan China dan India juga perlu dijemput sama untuk diadakan perbincangan. Adalah tidak adil kerana US telah lama mem”bebas”kan CO2 berbanding dengan China dan India yang masih berada dianggap sebagai negara membangun. Yang ironinya, selepas berita mengenai Persidangan G8, disiarkan berita mengenai “tornado chaser” seperti cerita Twister. Wartawan dari Jepun yang turut serta mencari tornado dan membuat penyelidikan mengenai tornado. Apa yang menarik perhatian adalah dikatakan kejadian tornado atau “tatsumaki” telah bertambah di US (negara yang paling banyak membebaskan CO2) kebelakangan ini dan ada kaitan dengan pemanasan global.
Hari ini juga adalah “Tanabata no hi” iaitu hari dimana dua bintang akan bertemu mengikut kepercayaan masyarakat Jepun. Pada malam ini, semua lampu2 ditempat awam akan ditutup selama lebih kurang 2 jam dari pukul 8:00 malam sehingga 10:00 malam. Kami ada mendapat surat dari sekolah Alya mengenai kempen ini. Ini juga berkaitan dengan kempen mengurangkan kadar perlepasan CO2 bersempena dengan Persidangan G8. Tanabata Matsuri disambut meriah di Sendai dengan hiasan di seluruh bandar. Pernah sekali pergi ke Sendai untuk merasa sendiri suasana Tanabata Matsuri dan memang meriah sambutannya jika dibandingkan dengan Tokyo. Di sekolah2 dan tadika2, murid2 akan menulis harapan & cita2 mereka dan kertas itu digantungkan pada batang buluh atau ranting kayu. Zakwan pula akan mengadakan konsert mini di tadikanya bersempena dengan Tanabata yang dipanggil Tanabata Yuugikai.
Ini ada penerangan mengenai Tanabata dari WIKI:
Tanabata (七夕, tanabata?), meaning “Evening of the seventh”) is a Japanese star festival, derived from the Chinese star festival, Qi Xi (七夕 “The Night of Sevens”)．
It celebrates the meeting of Orihime (Vega) and Hikoboshi (Altair). The Milky Way, a river made from stars that crosses the sky, separates these lovers, and they are allowed to meet only once a year on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month of the lunisolar calendar. Since the stars come out at night, the celebration is held at night.
The festival originated from The Festival to Plead for Skills (乞巧節; qǐ qiǎo jié, or 乞巧奠; きっこうでん), an alternative name for Qi Xi, which was celebrated in China and also was adopted in the Kyoto Imperial Palace from the Heian Period. The festival spread to the general public by the early Edo period, became mixed with various Obon or Bon (盆）traditions (because the Bon was held on 15th of the seventh month then), and developed into the modern Tanabata festival. In the Edo period, girls wished for better sewing and craftsmanship, and boys wished for better handwriting by writing wishes on strips of paper. At this time, the custom was to use dew left on taro leaves to create the ink used to write wishes. Incidentally, the Bon is now held on the 15th of August on the solar calendar, close to its original date on the lunar calendar, making Tanabata and Bon as further separate events.
The name Tanabata is remotely related to the Japanese reading of the Chinese letters 七夕, which used to be read as “Shichiseki” (しちせき). It is believed that a Shinto purification ceremony existed around the same time, in which a Shinto miko weaved a special cloth on a special weaver called Tanabata 棚機 (たなばた) near waters and offered it to a god to pray for protection of rice crops from rain or storm and for good harvest later in autumn. Gradually this ceremony merged with 乞巧奠（きっこうでん, The Festival to Plead for Skills) and became Tanabata 七夕. Oddly the Chinese writing 七夕 and the Japanese reading Tanabata (たなばた) joined to mean the same festival, although originally they were two different things.
Like Qi Xi and Chilseok, Tanabata was inspired by the famous Chinese folklore, The Princess and the Cowherd.
Orihime (織姫, Weaving Princess) the daughter of the Tentei (天帝, Sky King, or the universe itself) wove beautiful clothes by the bank of the Milky Way (天の川 Amanogawa). Her father loved the cloth that she wove and so she worked very hard every day to weave it. However, she was sad that because of her hard work she could never meet and fall in love with anyone. Concerned about his daughter, Tenkou arranged for her to meet Hikoboshi (彦星, Cow Herder Star) sometimes called Kengyuu (牽牛, Chinese name of Hikoboshi?) who lived and worked on the other side of the Amanogawa River. When the two met, they fell instantly in love with each other and were shortly married. However, once married, Orihime no longer would weave cloth for Tenkou and Hikoboshi allowed his cows to stray all over Heaven. In anger, Tenkou separated the two lovers across the Amanogawa River and forbade them to meet. Orihime became despondent at the loss of her husband and asked her father to let them meet again. Tenkou was moved by his daughter’s tears and allowed the two to meet on the 7th day of the 7th month if Orihime worked hard and finished her weaving. The first time they tried to meet, however, they found that they could not cross the river because there was no bridge. Orihime cried so much that a flock of magpies came and promised to make a bridge with their wings so that she could cross the river. If it rains, the magpies cannot come and the two lovers must wait till next year.
The following variation of the story is known in China and Japan: A young farmer named Mikeran discovered on his farm a robe which, unbeknownst to him, belonged to a goddess named Tanabata. Soon after, Tanabata visited Mikeran and asked if he had found it. He lied and told the goddess that he hadn’t but would help with her search. Eventually the pair fell in love, were wed and had many children. However, one day Tanabata noticed a piece of cloth which had once belonged to her robe on the roof of Mikeran’s hut. His lie discovered, Tanabata agreed to forgive him on the condition that he weave a thousand pairs of straw shoes, but until that time, she would leave him. Mikeran was unable to weave the shoes in his lifetime and thus never met Tanabata again. However, it is said that the pair meet once a year when the stars Altair and Vega intersect.
In present-day Japan, people generally celebrate this day by writing wishes, sometimes in the form of poetry, on tanzaku (短冊, tanzaku), small pieces of paper, and hanging them on bamboo, sometimes with other decorations. The bamboo and decorations are often set afloat on a river or burned after the festival, around midnight or on the next day. This resembles the custom of floating paper ships and candles on rivers during Obon. Many areas in Japan have their own Tanabata customs, which are mostly related to local Obon traditions.
p/s: tanabata disambut meriah antara pasangan yang belum berkahwin untuk mengeratkan lagi hubungan yang telah sedia terjalin
しゃけ (syake) or さけ (sake) – salmon
いせえび (iseebi) – lobster
かれい (karei) – righteye flounder
ひらめ (hirame) – olive flounder (lefteye)
すずき (suzuki) – Japanese seabass