In this foot race there is no clear leader because everyone that participates is a already a winner at the Okinawa Association of America’s annual picnic and Obon dance on Sunday. The picnic, held at Whittier Narrows Recreation Park in South El Monte, featured traditional Okinawan music, cultural performances, song and dance. The afternoon was a time for family and friends to get together, eat, drink, and catch up.
Games included tug of war …
Balloon toss …
And tamaire, in which red and white balls are thrown into baskets.


Young entertainers demonstrated traditional Okinawan dances as well as hula.
Picnic-goers listened to sanshin (Okinawan shamisen) and taiko music.
Youngsters kept themselves busy, while others had to take a break from the action.
Towards the end of the picnic it was time for the Bon dance, in which all ages participated.
Many of the dancers used handheld drums called paranku.

Photos by MARIO G. REYES/Rafu Shimpo

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