MOUNTAIN VIEW — Mountain View Buddhist Temple will be celebrating its 62nd annual Obon Festival, a mid-summer Buddhist holiday, on the temple grounds, located at 575 N. Shoreline Blvd., across from the Bailey Park Shopping Center and Safeway, on Saturday, July 19, from 4 to 10 p.m. and Sunday, July 20, from 12 noon to 9 p.m.
Admission is free with free parking on the temple grounds.
The Buddhist temple will be holding the “Kangi-e” or the First Obon Memorial-Hatsubon Service in memory of those who have passed away since the last Obon in 2013. The service will be on Sunday, July 6, at 10 a.m., with resident minister Rev. Yushi Mukojima officiating.
The recently retired guest speaker will be Rev. Honshu Matsubayashi from Fremont.
Rev. Mukojima, Temple President Bob Imai, and the Obon Festival co-chairs, Ron Murata and Dr. Russ Nakano, welcome all to the two-day Buddhist holiday festival.
Obon is a time to remember and honor all those who have passed on before us and appreciate all that they have done for us. It is a time for families and friends to get together and remember loved ones with feelings of respect, gratitude and love and a time to celebrate the joy of living, heritage, and thankfulness for many special things that have been taken for granted.
Festival guests will have a perfect opportunity to taste delicious Japanese and American food such as grilled teriyaki beef and chicken skewers, tempura, a variety of sushi, udon noodles, sweet corn, Polish sausage, Spam musubi, chili rice, yaki manju, corn dog, French fries, chicken salad, strawberry shortcake, shaved ice, soft drinks, beer, sake, and other beverages. There will be a special take-out booth.
On Sunday, a few food booths will be open until the festival closing at 9 p.m.
By popular demand, Mike Inouye, a talented temple member and NBC Bay Area TV traffic anchor, will be returning as the master of ceremonies on both days for the entertainment segments.
Festival visitors will be entertained by the Temple Taiko groups on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. and on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. The taiko instructors from Jun Daiko will play on
Saturday at 6 p.m. and Sunday at 3:30 p.m., all at the large yagura stage area. Debbie Kitani is the Temple Taiko cooridinator and Elise Fujimoto leads the Jun Daiko group.
In the Cultural Room, visitors will enjoy exhibits of bonsai, suiseki decorative rocks, ikebana flower arranging by Julie Nakatani, and Mataro kimekomi dolls by Isako Wasano; Dharma School and Nakayoshi Gakko displays by Lisa Yee and Girl Scout displays by Naomi Nakano-Matsumoto, all organized by Peter Matsumoto.
Beautiful cut and potted flowers and plants will be for sale in the Flower Shop run by Shawn Imai and Carolyn Sakai. The festival also features the Cultural Bookstore by Sumi Uyeda, home crafts organized by Jeanne Ohara, Miyo Yamanaga and Toshiko Uyehara, with many handmade items for gift-giving, and temple cookbooks by Leslie Imai, all ready to be purchased at bargain prices.
Popular children and adult games will include Add ’Em Up, Animal Pitch, Bingo, and Dharma School games: Shooting Gallery, Grab Bag, and Duck Pond, Dime Pitch, Goldfish, Hoop-La, Nevada Club, and Golf Putt-Putt.
Only on Sunday, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., under the white tents, the teachers will be on hand to help the children with children’s hands-on cultural activities that include balloon twisting by Debbie Saito, calligraphy names by Ami Wada, hachimaki headband stamping by Diane Nishiura, ikebana flower arranging by Julie Nakatani, origami paper folding by Kayo Kurata and Namiko Uyemoto, and a new craft, calligraphy letter rubbings by Toshi Kumagai.
Entertainment on Sunday will feature a taiko demonstration with audience participation complimenting the children’s hands-on activities.
Singer Janice Terakawa will sing Japanese and English tunes on Saturday and Kirk Abe’s Obon Jazz Quartet will be joining the festival again this year.
On Sunday, the Chidori Band, led by Blaine Takahashi, will perform at 6:30 p.m. right before the Bon Odori dancing at the yagura stage area. At 7:30 p.m., more than 400 dancers in colorful yukata kimono and happi coats will dance in a counter-clockwise circle around the wooden yagura. The Bon Odori will be led by long-time head instructor Marilyn Ozawa (Sanjo Kanyoshi) and her assistants, Frances Sawamura, Esther Bunya, Toshiko Uyehara, Aiko Sugimoto and YBA President Haley Sawamura, with Bill Nishimoto as the master of ceremonies. The coordinators for the Bon Odori will be Richard Fujikawa and John Arima.
Many will “come home” to be with family, old and new friends and to feel the spirit of community. This is a time to remember ancestors, family, relatives and friends at this once-a-year gathering. The festival will give everyone an opportunity to experience and learn about the Japanese Buddhist mid-summer holiday, food, culture, history, arts — the sights, sounds, taste and dance.
The “Control Tower” overlooks the entire festival with dedicated helpers Mike and Mel Inouye announcing, answering questions, and informing the visitors about the activities of the day. Sunday night will end with a raffle from 8:30 to 9 p.m.
For more information, call (650) 964-9426 or visit www.mvbuddhisttemple.org.