We had a Fort Worth Japanese Society luncheon recently celebrating Tanabata. Tanabata is traditionally celebrated on the seventh day of the seventh month. Also known as the Star Festival, Tanabata has its roots in a Chinese legend about the love between a young princess, Orihime, who was a weaver, and a handsome young cowherd named Kengyu (represented by the stars Vega and Altair). As a result of their great love for each other, the weaver neglected her work weaving cloth for the gods and the herdsman neglected his cattle. In punishment, Orihime’s father, the emperor of the heavens, moved the star-lovers to opposite sides of the Milky Way and stated that they would only be allowed to meet once a year: on the seventh day of the seventh month. On this night a flock of heavenly magpies use their wings to form a bridge that the weaver can cross to join her lover. The magpies will only make the bridge if July 7 is a clear night; if it rains, the lovers must wait another year. One popular Tanabata custom is to write one’s wishes on a piece of paper, and hang that piece of paper on a specially erected bamboo tree, in the hope that the wishes become true. Colorful Tanabata festivalsare held across Japan in early July and August. Among the biggest and most famous ones are the Tanabata Festivals of Sendai in August and Hiratsuka near Tokyoin July.
8 chicken wings
On a grill or in a broiler, cook the chicken wings until they are charred over about half their surfaces.
1 chicken thigh, boned, with or without skin
Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls)