On a sunny Friday morning of July 7th, the lobby of Subaru Telescope was beautifully adorned with colorful paper ornaments hanging on tall arched bamboo branches that were clustered throughout the lobby. Sounds of happy conversations and laughter stemmed from all corners of the lobby. Planning team members from both the Subaru Telescope and JCCIH were busily working on the finishing touches, getting ready to welcome all attendees to the 4th Annual Tanabata Festival.5 tanabata

Four years ago, JCCIH and Subaru partnered to provide a cultural experience with three goals: 1) to build understanding and lasting friendships between the Subaru Staff, our membership and community; 2) to create a “sampler” of food, activities, and history of this traditional Japanese “Star” Festival; 3) to build community interest to embrace traditional and cultural Tanabata activities, while highlighting the importance of the study of the stars.

Held annually, this festival is recognized throughout the world, in Japan, and now in Hilo. It traces its origins to a legend that the Cowherder “Hikoboshi” (Altair Star) and Weaver “Orihime” (Vega Star) were lovers separated by the Milky Way. These lovers were forbidden to meet by Orihime’s father, the King. But later, her father realizing that they were truly committed to true love, allowed them to meet once-a-year, on the Seventh Day of the Seventh Month.

Traditional Tanabata activities and food include the writing of “Tanazaku Wishes”, which are displayed on the bamboo stalks for all to read, and experiencing the “Nagashi Somen,” which means “flowing somen.” Attendees also enjoyed a nice assortment of sushi and local favorites, and delicious cake that was beautifully decorated with the Tanabata theme.

Inside the gathering room, beautiful kimonos were artistically displayed on the walls adding to the ambience of this joyful and cheerful event. Emcee, Dwayne Muka, did an outstanding job, as always, injecting his wonderful sense of humor. Program and entertainment included 2 ice-breakers, formal introduction of Subaru’s new Director, Dr. Michitoshi Yoshida, explanation of the difference between a kimono and a yukata, the proper way to wear them, audience participation in the singing of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star and a Tanabata Song sang by Hiroshi Sugai, followed by reading of the selected Tanbata wish by Dr. Yoshida.

The Education and Social and Cultural Committees thank everyone who helped to make the Tanabata Festival successful, including the hardworking and incredibly talented Subaru’s staff: Keiko Formanek Yuko Kakazu, Junichi Noumaru, Satoko Chiba, Dr. Mitchitoshi; JCCIH’s 1st VP, Stephen Udea, Dean Fuke, Debbie Shigehara, Chad Ogata, Miyuki Lee and her St. Joseph School students, Irene Nagao and her helpers (Portia Hara and Phyllis Shinno), Carol Van Camp and Ron Delay, Mike Miyahira, Dwayne Mukai, Tommy Goya, Lynnette Uyesato, Hiroshi Sugai, Gina Tanouye, Russell Arikawa, Ed Hara, Toby Taniguchi, and the Hilo Hongwanji Betsuin’s “Nagashi Somen” crew, led by Toshi and Takako Miura, Alan and Sandy Shigeta, Jean Tung, Sandy Taniguchi, Bob Nisimoto, Hazel Amano, Jane Miyashiro, and Yoshiko Kono. Thank you, Charlene, for your passion, hard work and all the photos that you took.

A special thank you to JE Orozco and his crew from Na Leo TV for attending and filming our entire event, which is available for all to view online:

  • http://naleo.tv/
  • Click on top tab Video On Demand
  • Type in Tanabata in the top Search box

In conclusion, Charlene Iboshi and I would like to extend our heartfelt thanks and appreciation to ALL who have stepped up to help plan, organize and implement this event over the past few years. This year drew the largest crowd, with more than 100 attendees!

Doomoo arigato gozaimasu!!

Yu Yok Pearring (and Charlene Iboshi)

Education Co-chairs 2015-2017