A pink waterlily floats in the lake beside the tofu-making shop at Battari-mura.
Yesterday, some places in Japan celebrated Tanabata, or "The Night of Sevens." Originally from China, the story of Tanabata is a sadly romantic one. It is said that a weaver of beautiful clothes (represented by the star Vega) fell in love with a herder (represented by the star Altair), causing them both to neglect their work. The king of the universe became angry with them, and separated them with the Milky Way, permitting them to meet only once a year on the seventh night of the seventh month.
To celebrate Tanabata, people write wishes on slips of paper and tie them to bamboo.
According to the Western calendar, the seventh day of the seventh month on the traditional Japanese calendar falls in August, which is when Sendai holds its famous festival. And, according to Wikipedia, this year Tanabata took on special meaning with the commencement of the G8 summit in Hokkaido and the Prime Minister's encouragement to the nation to celebrate by turning off lights and going outside to enjoy the Milky Way instead as a symbolic gesture for the environment.