Tanabata was on Sunday, so obviously we celebrated it last Wednesday. A little over a hundred kids from the campus's International Club, whose membership is entirely Japanese, gathered in our dormitory foyer amongst a two-storey bamboo tree. Or maybe not so much a tree as a long branch that had been stood up and set in water to act as a tree. I didn't much feel like socializing when I woke up, but I forced myself to make idle conversation with strangers who constantly exhibited utter shock at my ability to speak their language, talked to the like three club members I did know, ate some soumen, and sat down to scrawl out a few wishes. At that table an adorable 1kkaisei, who claimed to be 18 but couldn't have been more than 14, somehow attached herself to me and stayed that way for the rest of the afternoon, and seriously omfg so adorable.
“That I may come back to Japan quickly.” The first one was easy; I've made this wish at many a previous Tanabata party, in both Japan and Canada, and I long for the day when I don't have to anymore. Second, my sister is getting married in September, so I wished “That my sister may have a happy home life.” Moving to do another, I was jokingly cautioned that none of my wishes would come true if I made too many, so I said, fine. Just one more. And I wrote: “That the person (people) important to me may live in happiness.” I'm sure you can imagine who I was thinking of.
These really are my three most fervent hopes right now. I'm getting soft. I strung my tanzaku up among those already there, displaying such inspiring desires as:
“Money, food, women”
“I want bangs!!”
along with a handful asking for no rain, that Orihime and Hikoboshi might meet. Speaking of which, it was a good thing I'd managed to drum up some enthusiasm, because I'd been drafted the previous day as a last-minute replacement for Hikoboshi in a skit. Orihime was some guy from the club, and Hikoboshi was originally supposed to be Tiny Korean Girl, which would have been...interesting. I managed to attention whore it back and forth across the stage, high-fiving Orihime when we were reunited, pulling umbrellas out on occasions when it was too rainy for us to meet, etc. Everybody had a good time being ridiculous.
We also had a few rounds of bingo, with those cards where you punch holes into the board with your fingers, the ones they always use always. Seriously they always use the same ones, do they just sell them at the konbini? Also I swear I have never won a single game of bingo in Japan ever. Afterwards they laid out some tarps and a few watermelons and did the thing where they blindfold somebody and try to make them smash it open with a stick. Except that they tried to direct them towards it, and they were allowed to thrash around at it as many times as they wanted, so I guess we were playing by Special Gaijin Rules. I've never actually witnessed this practice except on Beach Episodes, but I've always condemned it as a waste of perfectly good food. Turns out, though, we ate it, so I guess as long it's not full of sand, it's actually still edible after being bashed to bits. Did you know that? I didn't know that.