A youngster on top of her father’s shoulders gets a bird’s eye view of Obon dancing at the Valley Japanese Community Center in Sunland on June 23. It was chance to shake off the dust collected on the summer kimonos and happi coats for the start of Obon season in Southern California. The festival featured many of the old favorites such as teriyaki chicken, udon, chicken salad, baked goods, shaved ice, and yaki onigiri.
There were also cultural demonstrations, including kendo, and karate, and games for the kids. Minyo Station and L.A. Matsuri Taiko entertained with festive folk music and taiko. Above, Valley JCC members keep a steady beat for the dancers on the taiko drums. Below, a female member of the Valley Kendo Dojo strikes her opponent in a demonstration of Japanese fencing.

Photos by MARIO G. REYES/Rafu Shimpo

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