August 4th was our Obon Festival. This fun festival is planned and prepared throughout the year, with the leaderships from amazing Obon chairs and dedicated volunteers. This year, the weather was clear and sunny -- and fortunately, not overwhelmingly hot either! Our parking lot was magically turned into a festive space of Obon Fest, with the yagura of taiko, with lanterns, with the food booths, beer garden, and many local arts and crafts vendors. In the hondo, Reverend Sugahara gave two temple talks to share the Dharma. Downstairs big room was divided into Kimono Store, Omiyage Store, Kodomo Corner (Games and Photo Booth) and eating area.
As the afternoon went on, Minidoka Swing Band, Sahomi Tachibana Dancers and Portland Taiko shared their unique, wonderful music and dance. The Obon dancing started at 7pm, as the slightly cooler breeze started to blow in, swinging the paper lanterns with the names of our ancestors and loved ones. Dances included some of our regular ones like Tanko Bushi, to the newer ones like Pokemon Ondo! The Don Don Dons performed "Ei Ja Nai Ka" , a song dedicated to the Issei (the first Japanese immigrants to America) and celebrates Japanese American history through movements that reflect the Issei’s work in agriculture, mining, and railroad construction (italic part quoted from https://taikosource.com/song-database/ei-ja-nai-ka/ ) . Our own temple musicians (with our Sensei!) also wowed the crowd with the live performance of the one and only "Portland Ondo"! From the first timers to veterans, from the young to the old, everyone danced in big circles, united with the rhythm and music of Obon.
(Special thank you to Todd Yuzuriha for permission to post both of the videos!!)