Tag Archives: festival


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.


along with stories, thoughts, and a renewed passion- i brought back a few souvenirs. mementos really, of the past. but looking forward to the future. somehow.

note the price. this is the real stuff. and you pay for it. that translates to about $850 for the roll. i would guess these were done in Japan. all this cotton shibori is sold by the roll only (full roll shibori was beyond my budget and really i don’t have a need for it but really enjoyed looking at!). no cuts, unless it’s scraps you find around here and there (which i did buy a bit of and turned into some shibori collections for the shop). some others were about $225 for a roll. they were done in China and had typical patterns. an occasional shop (not in arimatsu though) sold the Chinese shibori by the meter. not indigo dyed. these here are specifically for yukata and are more complex…not just the typical kanoko. lots more stitching here. like in the samples i brought back. the really good stuff was available in the high end custom kimono shops i saw around Tokyo. oh my! just fabulous. and very exclusive. not done in China.

the souvenir shop is open again. have a few more things to post but this is it for now. time to be done with the computer.

a glimpse of Arimatsu

I just finished a post over on the virtual silk study tour page which I have left open (public). Mostly this blog is password protected but thought I’d be a bit of a tease and give you a glimpse. Also a video I shot the other day had some dialog that my friend Richard was kind enough to translate for me and seems important to share with all.

go here