Photos by AYAME KOUSAKA/Rafu Shimpo
This past weekend, Gardena Budhist Church held its annual Obon Festival. Hundreds of people attended for the food, games, taiko performances and Bon Odori. The big event was held inside and outside the church, closing Halldale Avenue to provide ample space for the dancers.
Brian Imada was the emcee this year.
Pictured in front of the yagura are the minister and 10 Dharma School teachers with four assistants: From left, front row: Nadine Kakimoto, Susan Mukai, Rev. Nobuo Miyaji, Hope Hamamoto, Irene Igawa, Kikuko Nishi; second row: Mitzi Shimizu (lead odori teacher), Sharon Kawakami, Yasuko Takemoto, Hope Hamamoto; third row: Neeley Wauke, Noami Mekaru; back row: Arleen Miya, Imogene Imada, Lauren Kawahara, Alan Kita.
Erika Mariko Olsen, 2011 Nisei Week queen, speaks before the audience.
Tomio Prehoda of the Isami Taiko group sets the beat for the obon dancers.
The Elvis dancers strike a pose at the final obon of the season.