Ian and I experienced our first earthquake yesterday. We were in the book store in the BX (walmart/mall) looking at books and trying to decide whether or not to get cell phones when everything just started shaking. It wasn't very dramatic and things weren't falling off shelves so my first thought was that one of the fighter jets was doing a fly over. Except their engines are so loud that Ian and I wouldn't be able to talk to each other, even in doors. The jets are really quite frustrating, but that is another post. After a couple of minutes things stopped shaking and the shop girls started flying around the store looking for broken merchandise. We haven't had tv or internet for a couple of days, so we really aren't sure how big it was or anything like that. Sgt. Hill told us that it was common to get one big earthquake a month here.
Last night we went to our first festival too. There was so many girls dressed up in kimonos and food sellers.
The star festival is usually celebrated on July 7th everywhere else in Japan, but in Misawa it is the last week in July. The condensed story goes...that Sky God had a daughter, Weaver Girl, who would weave cloth for the other gods clothes. She was a workaholic and Sky God wanted her to get out and get a life. "When are you gonna get married? You look so old" Sky God takes Weaver Girl to the other side of the Milky Way to meet Cow Boy, and guess what, it was instant love. Pretty soon the cows got sick and the other gods clothes wore out because Cow Boy and Weaver Girl, like any pair of love struck teenagers, were spending so much time together they were neglecting their jobs. Sky God gets mad and takes Weaver Girl back across the Milky Way. She's so sad that she still wont work. Sky God makes a compromise, If she works very hard for one year then she can see him for one night.
Now, if the sky is cloudy that night that means that Weaver Girl and Cow Boy have to wait til next year. So people tie little pieces of paper with wishes for clear weather on bamboo trees. Nowadays that has just kinda morphed into wishes for all kinds of things.