Obon is an annual Buddhist event for remembering one's ancestors and the sacrifices they made during their life. The Japanese believe that each year during obon, their ancestors' spirits return to this world in order to visit their relatives. I kind of like the idea of this, wouldn't it be comforting to know that your loved ones were visiting you each year?
During this time, there are a lot of festivals honoring the spirits. We have one here on base and open the gates to our Japanese friends. The bases' Officers and Enlisted Spouses Clubs take part in the festival. They learn the dances and practice all summer long and have several performances throughout the summer, with the NAF Atsugi Bon Odori Festival being the last major performance. I did not participate last year, but am happy to say I will be participating this year!
Lots of people at the festival
There were lots of booths set up ... some selling squadron gear and some selling food
Our Shadowhawk booth!
J. and I at the Shadowhawk booth!
Bon Odori dancers waiting to start dancing
The dancers wear summer kimonos, called "yukatas"
The NAF Atsugi Dancers on the stage
I love these purple obis
The NAF Atsugi Dancers dancing around the stage
We have already started practices for this year's festival and have even participated in an event in Tokyo already! I will be sure to write about that soon.