Yesterday, July 7, was Tanabata, also known as Star Festival. Star Festival celebrates the one day each year that two lovers are allowed to come together. The Milky Way, a river made from stars that crosses the sky, separates the lovers, but they meet each year on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month. You can read the Chinese version of this legend in the children's book, Legend of the Milky Way by Jeanne M. Lee [JP LEE].
In Japan people put wishes on long strips of paper and hang them, and other streamers, from trees to flutter in the breeze. This is something anyone can do and makes for a fun activity for children and their parents. Pick up Traditional Crafts from Japan by Florence Temko [J 745.5 TEM] to inspire your creative celebrations. Tanabata activities can be found here.
If you'd like to use Japanese words on paper wishes, start with First Thousand Words in Japanese [J 495.6 FIR], then pick up Essential Kanji, 2,000 Basic Japanese Characters Systematically Arranged for Learning and Reference by P.G. O'Neill [495.6 ONE].