i spent my childhood summers in japan. my memories are filled with time spent with my maternal grandparents, going to japanese school (not all good memories), semi-tori (cicada catching) with my cousin, the humidity, and summer festivals. the obon festival was something i attended from year to year and it's a tradition i'd like my kids to embrace as well. it just seems like ian and maya don't have the same kind of summer traditions i did and i'd like them to have fond memories of their summers as i do.
but in order for them to embrace the tradition, i need to take them to an obon festival every year! sadly, in the last 20 years or so i haven't attended any of the many festivals here in the los angeles area. the one i used to go to is the gardena buddhist church obon, and it's the last one of the season in our area.
i couldn't convince ian to come with us (he opted to play at a friend's house) and jordan had a paper to write, so it was just me and maya. i dressed her up in ian's old jinbei-san (even though she wanted to wear a dress) and we headed to gardena for a little cultural mom & daughter time.
the main attraction of an obon festival is the obon dancing, which usually happens in the evening, but we couldn't stay that late. instead, we enjoyed some food (shaved ice and sata-andagi donut holes), watched a bit of taiko drumming, and played a couple of games. the festival seemed smaller than i remembered but it was just the right size for our afternoon outing.