Zenshuji Soto Mission Obon and Nishi Hongwanji LA Obon - July 8, 2007

Licensing

On July 8, 2007, I attended both the Zenshuji Soto Mission and the Nishi Hongwanji LA obons in Little Tokyo, California. These two temples host their obons on the same weekend every year, making for a bit of friendly competition. It was my first time at both obons, so I was in for a treat. I started my day at the Zenshuji Soto Mission obon, where I ate much more than I should have, watched performances, and hung out with friends. I then walked over to the Nishi Hongwanji LA obon, where I watched the dancing, had some boba and enjoyed the cooler weather and festivities. Each obon had a different feel, but both were very enjoyable. Because my day consisted of attending both obons, this collection includes pictures from both temples. Enjoy!

Slides in this album 

Zenshuji Obon - Okinawa Dango, Tacos and Snow Cones

Various types of food were available at the Zenshuji obon on Sunday, July 8, 2007 including okinawa dango, tacos and snow cones!

Zenshuji Soto Mission Obon, Okinawa Dango and Taco Booth
Contributed by: eishida

Zenshuji Obon - Tamale Booth

Southern California obon festivals offer a very wide variety of food, as is apparent through this picture. The tamale, a traditional Latin American food, has clearly made its way into the diet of the Japanese American community.

Zenshuji Soto Mission Obon Tamale Booth (2007)
Contributed by: eishida

Zenshuji Obon - Beer Garden

I was not surprised that the Zenshuji obon had a Beer Garden, a designated area that permitted the consumption of alcohol. People often drink at festivals and group events such as this festival. There were many children present throughout the day, so it was responsible of the coordinators to seclude …

2007 Zenshuji Soto Mission Obon Beer Garden
Contributed by: eishida

Zenshuji Obon - "Zen Sushi"

This item from the Zenshuji obon was cleverly called "Zen Sushi." It tasted wonderful, and it was filling too. I could not eat the entire thing by myself!

2007 Zenshuji Soto Mission Obon "Zen Sushi"
Contributed by: eishida

Zenshuji Obon - Udon

One of the many foods available at the Zenshuji obon was udon. As is depicted here, udon is often served in ceramic bowls, and the bowls are returned once finished. I was told that the udon was quite tasty!

2007 Zenshuji Soto Mission Obon Udon
Contributed by: eishida

Zenshuji Obon - Teriyaki Combo

Teriyaki plates are common, and much anticipated, at obon festivals throughout California. This specific plate at the Zenshuji obon consisted of beef, white rice and a small salad. Although I didn't eat any, it looked delicious!

2007 Zenshuji Soto Mission Obon Teriyaki Combo
Contributed by: eishida

Zenshuji Obon - Rummage Sale

Many obons in California are accompanied by some sort of sale. This sale is often crowded and popular among the people. At this rummage sale, there were purses, dishes, flowers, clothes and suitcases, as well as many other smaller items. And, of course, it was crowded.

2007 Zenshuji Soto Mission Obon Rummage Sale
Contributed by: eishida

Zenshuji Obon - Kyodo Taiko

Kyodo Taiko of UCLA performed a 30 minute set at the obon. "Matsuri" was the second song in the set, and is often played at Kyodo's performances. It is a song often taught to and performed by the newbies early on. However, it is a song that many Kyodo veterans …

Kyodo Taiko - "Matsuri" at Zenshuji Soto Mission Obon
Contributed by: eishida

Zenshuji Obon - Zendeko

Zenshuji Soto Mission has its very own taiko team, Zendeko. They are a very prestigious group, and have performed for and with many notable musicians and world leaders in the past, including the Emperor and Empress of Japan, President George Bush, Pope John Paul II and the Dalai Lama. They …

2007 Zenshuji Soto Mission Obon - Zendeko
Contributed by: eishida

Nishi Obon - Farmer's Market

Nishi's obon was quite big, in square footage, in number of attendees, and in number of activities. They were even able to bring out a farmer's market booth, full of produce and flowers.

2007 Nishi Hongwanji LA Obon - Farmer's Market
Contributed by: eishida

Nishi Obon - Ring Toss Game

At this game booth, one was supposed to toss a ring around the neck of a bottle to win a prize. The prizes are displayed on the table in front of the bottles. It is interesting to see how one woman, in her traditional "yukata" is playing alongside the children …

2007 Nishi Hongwanji LA Obon - Ring Toss Booth
Contributed by: eishida

Nishi Obon - Basketball Game Booth

This basketball game booth was one of many game booths at the Nishi obon. Some other booths included a ping pong toss booth, a fishing booth, and a bingo area. These games and activities kept people busy until the dancing began.

2007 Nishi Hongwanji LA Obon - Basketball
Contributed by: eishida

Nishi Obon - Hot Dogs and Chili

It was amazing to see how non-Japanese American foods are being integrated into the Japanese American obon festivals. This booth provided hot dogs and chili, two foods that reminded me of the typical American barbeque food.

2007 Nishi Hongwanji LA Obon - Hot Dog Booth
Contributed by: eishida

Nishi Obon - Boba

The Nishi obon was a perfect example of how cultures can come together and co-exist. In this case, they co-exist through food. Boba, a favorite drink of mine that originated in Taiwan, was sold at this Japanese American event. I was so excited!

2007 Nishi Hongwanji LA Obon - Boba
Contributed by: eishida

Nishi Obon - Okinawa Dango

Nishi, just like the other obons I have attended this year, was selling Okinawa dango, and it smelled delicious. It is a favorite among the youth, and I look forward to it every time I go to an obon.

2007 Nishi Hongwanji LA Obon - Okinawa Dango
Contributed by: eishida

Nishi Obon - Beer Garden

This is Nishi's beer garden. It was a specially designated space where one was allowed to drink alcohol. This special space was important, for like Zenshuji Soto Mission, there were many children at this event.

2007 Nishi Hongwanji LA Obon - Beer Garden
Contributed by: eishida

Nishi Obon - Udon and Bingo

The Nishi obon provided Bingo as a form of entertainment for thier guests. The bingo took place in the gym, and when I went in, most of the tables were full of people. I also saw bingo at both the San Fernando Valley Hongwanji Buddhist Temple obon and the Zenshuji …

2007 Nishi Hongwanji LA Obon - Udon and Bingo
Contributed by: eishida

Nishi Obon - Bingo

The organizers at Nishi transformed their gym into a gigantic bingo room. This room was easy to find, air conditioned and had enough room for hundreds of participants. This goes to show just how popular bingo is among obon attendees.

2007 Nishi Hongwanji LA Obon - Bingo
Contributed by: eishida

Nishi Obon - Dancing 1

Nishi's bon odori circle was huge, both in size and in the number of dancers! I have never seen one bigger. There were so many people, and they all surrounded the "yagura" in the middle, which housed the taiko players accompanying the music.

2007 Nishi Hongwanji LA Obon - Dancing 1
Contributed by: eishida

Nishi Obon - Dancing 2

In this picture, you can see most of the circle. White lines were drawn on the pavement of the parking lot, and people stayed in their respective lanes. The leaders danced in the middle, where all could see them. In this picture, you can barely see the chairs that sat …

2007 Nishi Hongwanji LA Obon - Dancing 2
Contributed by: eishida

Nishi Obon - Dancing 3

This is a close-up picture of the North side of the dance circle. This dance involves a bit of hopping, almost a slight trot, which is why it looks like the people might have been running. Notice the different colored hapi coats that the people are wearing. Each color represents …

2007 Nishi Hongwanji LA Obon - Dancing 3
Contributed by: eishida

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online exhibition

eishida — Última actualización Jun 28 2021 1:49 a.m.


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