Thursday, July 30, 2009

Pasadena's Charming Obon

My summer thing is to go to as many Obons as possible, or at least go to some new ones every year. Last year, we did 8 Obon days... this year we're falling slightly behind, but we've done it while also going to Crestline to work on Larry's house 3 times this July. So far this year, we've been to Senshin, Venice Carnival, Nishi, Venice, Pasadena and West LA this year. I also enjoy doing a little compare and contrast, pointing out my favorites of each one, as each one is so different.
So Pasadena was my favorite this year, I think because it was my first time. It's not a very big one, compared to other obons, and they don't have a lot of games. But, it had a real small town feel and was very charming. For one, there were mature pine trees in a very old parking lot and the buildings are well-worn, so it had a rustic vibe, with the mountains close by. There didn't seem to be a lot of visitors from other obons you often see dancing, but seemed to be mostly locals (Mike saw several of his relatives there).
The Food: Their Spam Musubi far surpasses any other I've had, with good tasting teriyaki Spam, and some kind of green salty nori inside, good rice texture, and a steal, at $1.50 for a pair. I didn't taste the chicken ($7) but the kids liked it, and they had real roasted corn ($2), inside the husks, which was really tasty. Chow mein was Nisei-style, said Tony. It had a handful of pan fried noodles with vegetables, beef and sauce on top. They had a delicious cold somen ($4), which was great on a hot evening, and the kids loved it. I salivated over, but passed by the red velvet cupcakes and other baked treats. Maiya enjoyed shave ice ($2) I forget which flavor, and Amani & Leela had the pink lemonade shave ice. Texture was ok, but the flavor was sweet, and prices were lower than most. A nice touch was the free cold mugicha.
Another thing I liked was the odori intermission taiko performance. I thought it was the temple's group, but they turned out to be from Norwalk. I did enjoy dancing the last few dances with Laura, Leela and Maiya, although Maiya was upset because she didn't start dancing until the last song, and wanted to go back to get her odori clothes and I told her she didn't have time. Another nice thing was the encouragement for non-dancers like myself to go out and just have fun. Anyways, I enjoyed the evening--you could feel the love there on a balmy Sunday night in Pasadena.

Next post will be some cute pictures of the kids that Tony took, and I still need to post pictures from a few other obons, but it's late, and it's been a long day.

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