The summer Obon Festival season is a joyful time in Little Tokyo. It's when the past can re-connect with the future; when the ghosts of ancestors and traditions find their way into the memories of youth. But it's mostly about here and now... As we know, kids live in the present -- and having fun is the best way to communicate the "culture" of J-Town.
Last weekend our family participated in the Obon Festival at Nishi Hongwanji Buddhist Temple. We saw community folks who drove in from places as far away as Fresno with smiles on their faces -- doing bon odori (Japanese dancing) to the beat of the taiko, playing bingo, and meeting old friends.
What are these festivals to a three-year-old kid? Here's a few fun things we did...
- Shooting a basketball and getting a lollipop (or two) even if you didn't score a point.
- Trying Okinawan dangos for the first time, and knowing Mommy won't consider it junk food.
- Eating an icy cold snow cone with rainbow flavors.
- Winning a goldfish by throwing a ping-pong ball into a bowl (we were lucky).
- Dancing and listening to the taiko (don-don-don)!
What is my purpose of writing all this? Forming these memories for our kids are Little Tokyo's future. Bring your kids to the summer festival events, including Nisei Week in August. Join in the community, meet some new people, spend quality family time, and go "offline". Yes, the "real world" is sooo much better than any video game!