Happy Tanabata (sort of) - 58tinton.win

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Thursday, July 7, 2016

Happy Tanabata (sort of)

Last year, I entered a piece of art in the Ro Ho En Japanese Friendship Garden of Arizona's Annual Anime Drawing Contest - it was my first time entering into an art contest as an adult.

Industrious Hygienist art on display at Japanese Friendship Garden in Phoenix, AZ.

I didn't win, but it was fun to see the other entries and meet some of the other artists. 

I've waited to post the art until now, because I wanted to post it on the day of Tanabata, since that is the Japanese celebration I made my manga about. There is some confusion about the date of Tanabata - some people celebrate it on July 7, some on August 7, and if you're actually following the Gregorian calendar as it compares to the Japanese lunisolar calendar, the "official" day to celebrate it is August 9, 2016 for this year. 

I figured that if Google decided to celebrate it today, I could celebrate it today. Check out Google's doodle for the 2016 Tanabata celebration. 

The manga has two of the main characters from a space opera novel I am working on and is entitled "First Tanabata Together! (Lunar Colony) - July 7, 2102." The characters have written their wishes on slips of colored paper and hung them on a makeshift tree made of gears and other accessories they scrounged from their living quarters on the Moon. They've made other decorations, including origami and a poster of the traditional Tanabata song. My favorite piece of the manga is the extension cords hanging in the backdrop, tied in some of the creative ways my contractors tie their cords. 

Characters from my in-process space opera novel - celebrating Tanabata on the Moon.

The poem/song on the poster is a traditional Tanabata song, which goes:

"The bamboo leaves rustle,
shaking away in the eaves.
The stars twinkle
on the gold and silver grains of sand.
The five-color paper strips
I have already written.
The stars twinkle,
they watch us from heaven."

If you look closely on the manga, you can see the two dieties that the celebration is about, Orihime and Hikoboshi (represented by the stars Vega and Altair, separated by the Milky Way), on the two wall-screens. The Tanabata legend says that the lovers Orihime and Hikoboshi are allowed to meet only once a year on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month, according to the Japanese lunisolar calendar. 

During Tanabata celebrations, participants write down wishes on colorful paper (called "tanzaku") and hope the two lovers were able to meet. I've written my wishes and will burn them on midnight as is tradition. Hopefully, next year, I'll have another piece of art from the space opera novel to post on Tanabata, with a short story introducing the characters and the story world. Happy Tanabata!

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