July 31, 2016

Traditional summer fun

Here are a few scenes of traditional summer fun. In plain words that means these time-honored Japanese cultural activities have become July rituals for the Rising Family™. And they are fun for all of us. 
(Ed. note: there’s a little something just for me at the end, a time capsule of sorts…)
At Marina’s kindergarden, every year they hold the summer festival for the kids and parents amid the sweltering July humidity. The students put on a cute show of quasi-Obon dancing on a stage pulsing with the bom-bom taiko drums; these toddlers to six-year-olds gamely try to contort their bodies properly to the traditional summer songs. Mostly it’s for parents like me to capture it on video for the ages. They also hoist the omikoshi (portable Shinto shrine) going around the school joyously squeaking “washoi”—which nobody really knows what it means, but it’s a good thing!

Next was the neighborhood Obon summer festival, always a huge hit with our kids and the neighborhood. The community association astutely plans it before the actual Obon holidays in mid-August because so many people from Tokyo and Yokohama are from other parts of Japan, and will probably go home at that time. So it’s well attended in July, and I think a charming public event for people of all ages.

Elena was quite excited. All the students at her school make the lantern shades for the lights that criss-cross the festival grounds, which is held at the biggest local public park. She proudly showed us hers. Also, she is old enough to want hang with her friends. Here she is with her best friend, H.F.
Here is our mini Annie Oakley, M., knocking down two of three dixie cups thanks to her sharpshooting skills.
Full moon…
…and dancing groups of older folks who really know how to do the Obon dances properly.
Finally, this is just for me. The 2016 Blue Jays are in first place for the first time since April. 
Of course I am pulling for them. I have no idea how the season will turn out, but yeah I am hoping they will go to the fall classic. It’s a joy to watch and follow the team, even from half the world away. 
So I am just posting this to show a righteous belief that..they…can..go...all…the..way
Go Jays!

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