PASADENA — The boom of the taiko drum; the swirl of colors from bright yukatas and happi coats; the aromas of grilled chicken teriyaki and corn are all sensory pleasures marking the annual Pasadena Buddhist Temple Obon Festival, taking place this year on July 18 and 19 starting at 4:30 p.m. each day.
Obon, also known as Kangi-E (“A Gathering of Joy”), is a time to show appreciation for family and friends who have passed from this world. Pasadena’s Obon will express joy through Bon Odori (Japanese folk dancing), taiko performances, food booths, exhibits, martial arts demonstrations, vendors and guest appearances.
Obon dancing will take place each evening at 6:30 p.m. The public is welcome to join in the fun. Taiko performances will take place at 7 p.m. with more Obon dancing resuming afterwards.
Every Obon has a variety of festival foods. Pasadena will have its own barbecue chicken teriyaki, beef teriyaki, manju, new Noodle Bites, unagi donburi, snow cones, grilled corn, maki sushi/inari sushi (Saturday only), chirashi rice (Sunday only, prepared by the Buddhist Women’s Association), Spam musubi and more.
Each day will feature special events and appearances:
Saturday, July 18
• 5 p.m.: PJCI qi gong demonstration
• 5:30 p.m.: PJCI Shotokan karate demonstration
• 5:30 p.m.: Visit by Nisei Week Court candidates
• 7 p.m.: L.A. Matsuri Taiko performance
• 8:15 p.m.: Silent auction closes
Sunday, July 19
• 5-6:30 p.m.: Book-signing by Marsha Aizumi and Aiden Aizumi (“Two Spirits One Heart: A Mother, Her Transgender Son, and Their Journey to Love and Acceptance”) courtesy of Heritage Source Booksellers
• 5 p.m.: Nanka Kyudo Kai demonstration
• 5:30 p.m.: Pasadena Kendo Dojo demonstration
• 6 p.m.: Pasadena Naginata Dojo demonstration
• 7 p.m.: Taiko of West L.A. Buddhist Temple performance
• 8:30 p.m.: Opportunity drawing
In addition, there will be game booths and an opportunity drawing with prizes including an Apple Watch. For a complete schedule, visit PasadenaBuddhistTemple.org.