Jivin’ in West L.A.

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Photos by J.K. Yamamoto/Rafu Shimpo

West Los Angeles Buddhist Temple held its annual Obon Festival last weekend, with hundreds of dancers participating in Bon Odori on both days. Visiting groups included the Obon Jivers, featuring Elvis impersonators in aloha shirts, who have become a fixture at Southern California Obon festivals.

 

David Mann, one of the evening's taiko drummers, plays the kane for the dancers. Also drumming on the yagura were Maddie Hopfield, Bob Ishikawa, Gene Kafka and Jerry Kawahara.

Denice Hoy (right) was one of the odori instructors. Also leading the dancers were Grace Fujimoto, Emily Hoy, Katie Hoy, Haru Matsumune, Grace Mizushima, Kylie Mizushima, Justin Mizushima, Larraine Miyata, Kathy Nishimoto, Kaylie Nishimoto, Kiku Ohkawahira, Diane Ohkawahira, Nathan Ohkawahira, Joko Tamura-Pedersen, Rick Stambul, Beverly Yahata and Stephany Yamasaki.

Dancers came from different generations and represented temples throughout Southern California.

Greetings were delivered by WLABT President Rob Kafka (right) and resident minister Rev. Fumiaki Usuki.

Indoors, there were displays of bonsai (pictured) and ikebana.

On the menu were beef teriyaki (left), Imagawa yaki (right), hot dogs, won ton, Spam musubi.

Shaved ice (or shave ice) was a popular item in the summer heat.

Games for kids included the basketball throw and something different, a toilet paper roll toss. The festival also featured a performance by West L.A. Taiko and a raffle.

 

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