Senshin's obon is among my favorites mostly because of all the people we know who go to Senshin. There is more emphasis on the spiritual and Buddhist traditions. They don't have festival games... and only a few food booths like chili rice n' hot dogs or snow cones, but odori dancing and taiko performances are highlights. Senshin is always early, used to be the 1st weekend of July, but every now and then it's the last Saturday in June, and if I'm not paying attention, am likely to miss it.
Ms. Susan from Nishi Center (BTW, we saw either Ms. Susan or Ms. Elaine at EVERY obon this year.)
After the dancing, we go through the hondo/temple, and do oshoko (incense offering). Since Maiya goes to a Buddhist preschool, I find I am now watching her for the protocol, which she does before me. Then we walk up and out of the hondo. Someone passes us a lit candle, and we see the mesmerizing 1,000 or so oil candles lit one by one in memory of those who have passed before us. As you pass by, you light a candle and then pass the candle to the person behind you. It is a beautiful and solemn moment, one that makes you take a deep breath.
Then inside the Social Hall, where I have spent a lot of time, as Senshin is Great Leap's spiritual home and rehearsal space. We get in line for some free soba noodles and sit down to watching taiko performances with resident company and OG taiko group Kinnara Taiko. Ooh, and at the time of this blog posting it is 7:08 am, and as I typed the word taiko performances, Maiya stirred from her sleep and said, "taiko... taiko."