Thursday, August 07, 2008

Last Obon in Gardena

Whew! We made it through Obon season. Including the Venice Community Center Carnival and counting Nishi's 2 days twice, we ended up going to obon 8 times this summer. Tony had suggested that we go to them all, but I think 8 is enough to make an impression on a 3 1/2 year old that these represent part of our JA culture, and part of our K-O family tradition to dance a little, play some games, and eat a lot.

Gardena was very crowded with very long lines. But, the booths were pretty efficient, and the long lines moved surprisingly fast. We got the teriyaki chicken bowl, which was small, but very good. Snow cones were just ok. Corn was pretty good. Tony enjoyed the beef, and Grandpa Larry got the sushi. For once, I didn't get chili and rice. I did stand in the longest line, which went out to the street, and that was the Dango booth, but I ran into an old friend Glenn, so catching up with him made the line go faster. Gardena was different in that it was in an actual residential neighborhood, and there were tons of families with babys and small children. No stage, but it was probably the longest street for dancing that we've seen and a huge outdoor bingo.

As I mentioned before, I do have a new appreciation for all the volunteer time that goes into running these events. I saw Gail, who we worked with on the Aloha Mural 10 years ago, working at 3 different food booths, Venice Carnival, Venice Buddhist Church, and West LA obon. That's some extreme dedication. And, from what I can see, there is enough young energy to continue obons into the future. Even for me, who's been going to obons for 15 years, I finally took my turn selling snow cones, and you'll see me out there again next year. It's been a great summer, catching up with old community friends, and joining to celebrate our ancestors with a modern day flair. Anyways, this ends my summer of obon observations, but I'll stop here with a little poem for my girl:
Gardena Obon
Playing games with Daddy
Sharing snow cone with Grandpa Larry
Dancing bon odori with my Mama
Jumping in the bouncer!

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