June 3, 2012

Obon Season is starting

The Arizona Buddhist Temple will hold their Obon on June 9th and a group of us (mainly taiko people) are all going. I've never been to a Bon dance in Arizona, so this should be interesting. Of course, some of us are going in yukata and I'm loaning out a couple to people that don't own one but would like to look as festive as possible! Everyone else will be wearing happi.
I was thinking of wearing my new yukata for obon, so I was coordinating obi, geta, etc. For Bon dance, you need extra accessories since each dance requires a different "prop": a folding fan, uchiwa fan, kachi-kachi, and a tenugui. It's summer here and hot as usual, so I didn't bother trying everything on but I tried to lay it out nicely.

My new gold yukata arrived, so of course I'm itching to wear it. My cream/beige yabane obi looks really good with it. I was originally thinking a red or pink obi but the flowers are more subdued. The red is more of a rust color, so I'm going for a soft, toned down look here. I've added a rust and cream print han-eri (looks salmon in the photo), a pink and teal obijime for a bit more color, yellow geta, fans, and my yellow ladybug kachi-kachi (similar to castanets). I've added a grey tenugui and lastly, my trusty gold clutch purse. A light-colored straw or linen handbag would give more of a feeling of coolness, so I may go on an excursion to the accessory store at the mall later this week.

It will be very hot in Phoenix (Probably about 105°F) and after some research, I discovered they do have their Bon dance outside, they just seem to start it late enough so it's almost dark when it gets underway. That should help with the heat a bit. If I'm feeling like I will need to be even cooler, I may just ditch the juban and han eri!
Let me know what you think and I'll post some Obon photos next weekend!


  1. Hi!
    Obon is in June? It sounds early!
    I guess many people in the US take a summer vacation and be away from home in July & August.

    If it is hot at night in Phonix, I think no juban and haneri.
    Instead, I would wear camisole and capri leggings.
    But if you want to use obijime, I would wear hadagi with eri attached (if you have one) or juban and haneri.

    Until I read your blog, I had never questioned why bon dance is held at night.
    I share what I've researched.
    - Night has been a sacred period of time for Japanese people since the ancient times. So, festivals have been held at night to welcome, entertain and send off deieties and spirits.

    Bon dance is to entertain our ancestors.

    Enjoy bon dance!

  2. Hi Meow
    Thank you for you nice feedback on my blog. I have been to some Obon festivals in California (None in Japan though) and they are almost always held in July with a few in August. Most California festivals seem to have their dance in the late afternoon or evening. I expect the one in Phoenix is later since it will be cooler outside. I love that in Japan that festivals are held at night because it is more sacred.
    It is supposed to be 104 degrees F/40 degrees C on Saturday, so hot weather is a real problem. I will probably wear a camisole or kimono bra and no han eri and a susoyoke and bring a bangasa! I will post photos!
    Arigato :)