Tanabata is a Japanese version of an old Chinese myth. A weaver princess named Orihime and a cow herder Hikoboshi fell in love but they never got any of their work done so they were banished to opposite sides of the Amanogawa (Milky Way.) They are only allowed to meet once a year on the seventh day of the seventh month.
To celebrate Tanabata people write their wishes on long strips of colorful paper and then hang them on bamboo poles. The poles are also decorated with streamers and other ornaments. In Tahara lining the Hanatoki-dori there are bamboo poles filled with wishes. The tables at Centfaire where the high schoolers hang out in the evening also have decorations.
I wrote my wish last week at Takamatsu Elementary. The teachers wouldn't let me write it in English so I had to do my best in Japanese. I wrote it in pencil first, then Suzue-sensei corrected it for me and then I wrote in pen. You can see it below. It says raigetsu america ni kaerimasu kedo mata nihon ni modoritai desu. That translates to "Next month I'm going home to America but someday I hope to come back to Japan."
The only thing is that if it rains then they can't meet and they have to wait an entire year for another chance. I'm afraid poor Orihime and Hikoboshi won't meet this year since it was pouring buckets the last time I looked out the window. I hope that doesn't affect my wish because I really do want to come back to Tahara someday. Either way, Happy Tanabata everyone!