Obon Festival 2014 : A Postmortem

On June 14th, 2014, Kona Hongwanji held their annual Obon Festival at the Keahou Shopping Center. This is the behind the scenes from setup to breakdown, an all day affair put together by the hard work of many people both young and old.

Setup starts promptly at 8 AM with the construction of the vendor tents and yagura, the traditional Japanese tower that the Bon Odori participants dance around.

 Members of the Kona Hongwanji Shinwakai help put together the yagura.

Members of the Kona Hongwanji Shinwakai help put together the yagura.

Traditionally, the yagura is used as a stage for the musicians or dance leaders. However, due to time constraints and transportation logistics, we use a custom built metal frame that we then hang a yagura "skirt" from to simulate a traditional yagura.

 The nearly finished yagura with "skirt" and banners setup. All that's left is some floodlights and the stringing of lanterns.

The nearly finished yagura with "skirt" and banners setup. All that's left is some floodlights and the stringing of lanterns.

After setting up the yagura, the next step is to string up some lighted lanterns for decoration and ambiance.

Another impotant aspect for the yagura is the inclusion and hanging up of our oversized teru teru bozu, affectionately named "Eddie." Teru teru bozus are simple traditional Japanese dolls used to ward off or stop rain. We hang him up every bon dance as a precaution against bad weather.

 Eddie being hung up.

Eddie being hung up.

Meanwhile, the vendor tents get setup by the Boy/Cub scouts and their parents.

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Setup is finished by around noon, at which point we clean up what we can and head out, returning around 4:30 PM with the event starting at 6:00 PM.

 Kona Hongwanji Taiko members accompanying along to the bon dance music.

Kona Hongwanji Taiko members accompanying along to the bon dance music.

Our setup for the dance itself involves both traditional Taiko drums and backing music for the audience to dance to. I'll go into more detail on our full setup later, so look forward to that.

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After it's all said and done (around 10:00 - 10:30 PM) we start breaking down, put away and packing up the drums and sound system first. Then we take down the yagura and tents. This year had a slight challenge as it started to rain lightly right before we finished, but we accomplished our task regardless. We return to Kona Hongwanji where we air out and dry the yagura skirt and put away everything else. We finish that by about midnight, and finally go home for a good night's rest.

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So that was a basic breakdown of one of our annual traditions at Kona Hongwanji. Stay tuned for more when I go over some of our other events.

 

 

Open Rollment 2014

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Kona Hongwanji Taiko group had their open enrollment on September 25, 2014.
 

President Michael Gusman started the afternoon with by talking about our mission statement, what kind of drumming we do, the types of drums we have, introduction of instructors and current members. 
 

Mission Statement: 

"The mission of the Kona Hongwanji Taiko Group is to share and perpetuate the history, tradition and culture of taiko to the community in the most positive light."

He talked about teamwork, respect, positive attitude, tradition and guidelines of what to do and not to do during practices.


We have 7 new members:

Isaiah Aoki, Taira Aoki, Mark Inouye, Nancy Grant, Mark Inouye, Gayle Kaio, and Randon Reyes.