Japanese people write their wishes on colorful sheets and hang them to banboo. The custom originally comes from a Chinese old tale.
The students in our laboratory also made the bamboo and ornaments. Now, some students study for examination to the graduated school. Therefore, most of hopes relates to its success.
Others are related to refinement of traffic jams around our university, growth of a company where a student will work from the next year, and so on.
By the way, do you know a similar decorated bamboo in space? Dr. Koichi Wakata, a Japanese astronauts, stays at the International Space Station (ISS) now. He also put a bamboo (actually paper craft of bamboo) and wrote his hope on a sheet. His hope is the completion of the Japanese space laboratory module, named "Kibo".
"Kibo" is a Japanese word meaning "hope". I feel the ISS is like a bamboo, and the "Kibo" module is like a sheet for wish. After the completion, many people will carry out their experiments in the module with their HOPE.
Other astronauts from US and Russia etc. pray the happiness and health of their families. Both of Japanese astronauts and students do not. Why? I think that our laboratory and the ISS are places of work, and Japanese students and the astronauts pray about their work. If they go to a temple or shrine, theywill pray for their families. Japanese people normally divide their style in and out of office.
Anyway, the bamboo in the ISS is so funny.
It should be called as "When You Wish in stars"!
(See also my Japanese blog: http://goto33.blog.so-net.ne.jp/2009-07-10)