Every weekend of the summer a different buddhist temple on the island puts on their Bon Festival, with lots of typical food --fried donuts, grilled manwiches called Flying Saucers, yakitori chicken and teriyaki beef, and Spam musubi. Everyone comes dressed up in their Japanese finery-- from simple stuff like light cotton hapi coats, to full kimono with stiff obi and lacquered combs. There's a big yard in front of the temples, and a tall tower set up in the middle that holds the drums, which the priest climbs up to say a blessing. Lights are strung out like spokes in a wheel and a wide circle is roped off. When it starts to get dark, somebody turns on the tape recorder and a crackly old recording starts up, and all of the dancers go into the circle, and dance in unison, around and around the tower, showing off their finery. All year, they have bon-dance classes so you can practice all the steps to these funny old songs.
I pretended to be texting so I could take these pictures of dressed up people. :)
Here's the tower with the drums and the lanterns and lights... you can see that we should have brought our folding chairs.
Matt's Aikido class meets at the Lihue Hongwanji, and so they got to help out with the bon dance preparations. We got to the hall and saw mountains of chicken and beef stewing in savory sauces. We helped string them onto skewers.
Matt got to go the next night and grill up the flying saucers over open flames-- it was very manly!Rosie dancing along to the music on Matt's neck
Eating fried dough blobs-- Andagi
This cute but annoying dog followed us on our walk.