Dancers circle the yagura at the Valley Japanese Community Center Obon held on June 23-24.


Valley Japanese Community Center wishes to thank everyone for coming out in support of our 2012 Obon Festival, which was held on June 23-24.

Matsutoyo Sato Sensei

This year, our modest center was honored to have a record number of visitors and dancers from other temples, organizations and the public. Without everyone’s participation, hard work and effort over many months, we could not have had such a successful event.

Returning for the second year was Matsutoyo Kai, who performed “Kyushu Tanko Bushi” live for the enjoyment of the dancers. This year featured Ms. Miwa Lyric and Mr. Yuki Shingaki, who performed “Asadoya Yunta” on the Okinawan sanshin. Matsutoyo Kai and friends also provided entertainment during the ondo break. Their joyful presence and lively music was enjoyed by all.

On Sunday, festival attendees were treated to a performance by L.A. Matsuri Taiko, who returned for the fourth year. Their thunderous drumming and infectious smiles truly made our visitors feel very welcome.

L.A. Matsuri Taiko performs at the annual festival.

Many people said it felt like Obon from 20-30 years ago, when we were a very busy and thriving center. Others also said they felt like they were part of the festivities, not just observers. Their words truly warmed our hearts and gave us the encouragement for next year’s Obon as well.

Best wishes to you and your families during this Obon season. Thank you once again and we look forward to you visiting us again next year.

Christine Inouye is ondo chairperson at the Valley Japanese Community Center in Sun Valley. For more photos and video, visit the center’s Facebook page.

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