The humidity was high but no match for the spirits shown by those in attendance at Pasadena Buddhist Temple’s “mini” Obon Festival last Sunday. Normally a two-dayaffair, organizers trimmed the schedule to a single day as the event comes back from a two-year, pandemic-induced hiatus. Above: Once the traditional dancing began, Roy Okita kept time on the taiko.

After a few mid-summer raindrops, the festival got under way with a boutique of crafts and services inside the temple’s gymnasium, along with a full menu of eats that included the annual favorite, chili rice.

Many dancers attended clad in traditional summer yukata, including South Pasadena friends (from left) Caitlyn Chailitilerd, Sabrina Blüml, Ellie Mendel and Daniella Lat.

Inside the Hondo, Rev. Gregory Gibbs stands before floral tributes to temple members who have recently passed.

A young girl is the picture of grace in her summer wear.

The always energetic dancing of Marc Amba and Michael Pacelli soared despite the warm and muggy conditions.

Water misters and plenty of refreshments to keep visitors cool and hydrated were available, in the beer garden and at the ever-popular shave ice booth. Above, Margaret Hamachi prepares to dig in to her strawberry snow topped with fresh fruit and mochi balls.

Michele Nagata knows all the steps.

A thunderous performance by Taiko Ichiza wowed the large crowd and even set off a couple of nearby car alarms. The set included high-flying stick acrobatics by Daniel Yaguchi.

Always a popular feature at the Pasadena festival, visitors were invited to have a try at playing the taiko. Above, 13-month-old Jae is having a ball with the sticks while his mom and Taiko Ichiza member Sarah Gibson Cortes lends a hand.

Photos by MIKEY HIRANO CULROSS/Rafu Shimpo

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