like i said in an earlier post, i am in the practice of noticing more. especially when things seemingly unconnected occur in close or relative relationship to each other. Carl Jung coined the term “synchronicity” to explain this connecting principle.

it so happens it is the time for obon celebrations in Japan as well as in Japanese communities around the world.
here in the LA area, the Japanese American National Museum hosted a summer festival in Little Tokyo. the above link lists oban festivals around the US- maybe there is one near you.

my friend Susan made note of one near her in her recent post.

and then out of “the blue”, i received a CD with some old family pics from a sister who has taken on the task of converting dad’s old slides…and there were those old pics of the bon odori.

it was a serious event and everyone came out for it. my best recollections were getting to dress up in yukata,the smell of yakitori, and catching pretty goldfish with rice paper wands. a general summer festival with all the trimmings. bon odori nights were the highlight of the summer with food, music, dancing, fireworks, paper lantern decorations and more. we definitely stood out with our red, blond and brown pixie haircuts and light eyes in a sea of Japanese. even in yukata there was no way to blend in. and in true Japanese hospitality the women were especially kind and wanted to teach us how to dance with them.

it was also a great place to see some fabulous japanese cotton textiles….not that i appreciated it at the time though.

Obon or Bon is an annual Japanese Buddhist custom to honor the deceased (departed) spirits of one’s ancestors that have past away and to honor (remember) them. This Buddhist custom has evolved into a family reunion holiday during which people return to ancestral family places and visit and clean their ancestors’ graves, and when the spirits of ancestors are supposed to revisit the household altars. It has been celebrated in Japan for more than 500 years and traditionally includes a dance, known as Bon-Odori.

there were many memories that came back as i looked through dad’s old photos but i think this one was my favorite:

even now my favorite place to be is where the sea shapes the shore. like i’ve said before, must be the pisces in me keeping me moored to coastlines.

11 thoughts on “obon

  1. Valerie Kamikubo

    The Long Beach Japanese Community Center just had their Obon festival last month. More than ever, of all my years attending, I noticed how racially mixed it was and how very community centered it seemed. It was wonderful to see so many participating. As an added extra bonus, I bought an old cotton kimono for $3 from the white elephant section. It needs a little repair, but it made for a great day!


  2. Frisbee

    Thanks for sharing. The Art of Awareness is one never mastered. I continue to look around, and never tire of what is there. This practice is one that keeps me living; using what perception I did not know I had. Thanks Miss Shibori Girl.



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