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I got this from a Japanese bar owner, she said it means "bamboo", but I used Google translate and can't find a similar word that looks like that. Also, is it possible to type out this word?

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2 Answers 2

It looks to me like 「[七夕]{たなばた}」 in vertical cursive. It does not look like 「[竹]{たけ}」, which means "bamboo".

Here is what 七夕 means: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tanabata

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Is it correct to write 七夕 in vertical way and connect to each other in Japanese? if so, your answer may be a very good one! –  Ayame Tien Jul 21 at 9:36
    
Yes, it is correct to write in a vertical way, all the novels I bought in Japan are printed using vertical writing (you start by reading the column of text on the right, then the next column and the left, etc. So it is not only vertical, but also from right to left). Also, connecting the characters is a stylistical effect not uncommon in Japanese calligraphy. –  wil Jul 24 at 17:21

The characters are almost certainly represent Tanabata (七夕), and are written in the fluid calligraphic style known as "grass style."

The idea of bamboo here probably comes from the use of bamboo during the Tanabata festival. From the Wikipedia page on Tanabata:

In present-day Japan, people generally celebrate this day by writing wishes, sometimes in the form of poetry, on tanzaku (短冊 tanzaku?), small pieces of paper, and hanging them on bamboo, sometimes with other decorations (see also Wish Tree).

The bar owner may have been trying to suggest a use for the Tanabata item you received, since the holiday was on 7 July.

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