|I'm in the center in my new gold yukata.|
The Phoenix Obon at the Arizona Buddhist Temple turned out to be a pleasant surprise as well as the perfect opportunity to wear kimono and yukata! Despite the reservations about the hot weather, we (There were six in our group) all had a really great time. The dancing started a little after 7:00pm, so there was ample shade. The best part was there were many dances (I estimate at least 12-15!) and such variety. They even let the dancers take a welcome 15 minute water break halfway through. A nice touch was they passed out boxes of kachi-kachi, tenugui, etc. for the dancers to borrow just in case you didn't have the correct accessory for the dance!
Some of the dances we did that I recognized from the west coast; at the least music was familiar: Pokeman Ondo, Tanko Bushi, Tokyo Ondo, Sakura Ondo, and a dance to "Accentuate the Positive" that made us laugh. This temple even has their own dance choreographed to a Beach Boys song- "Kokomo"!
There was also a rummage sale in the temple...(kimono shopping alert- look for a separate post) which yielded some nice surprises. Most of the items for sale were dishes but there were some gems in the rough. I found a crazy bird yukata for $10 and one person in our group found a komon kimono, an obi, and an obijime!
We arrived late enough to miss out on the bento box dinner, but they had to be pre-ordered anyway, so no worries. We ate before we arrived but some of us managed to find the shave ice and delectable homemade desserts on sale inside.
The whole experience was really nice despite the long drive for some of us. Next year, I'll gather a larger group together and we will leave much earlier so we can relax a bit before we dance. And next time maybe we will stay overnight to experience the bon service at the temple next morning.
Until next June!