Japan Society of Fairfield County
The Japan Society of Fairfield County
held its 18th Annual Bon Odori, Summer Festival, on July 23rd, 2011
in Westport. It was an appropriately hot summer day. Bon
Odori is Japan’s main outdoor summer festival and has been
celebrated for almost 1400 years. People return to their ancestral
homes for a fair that can last about a week and includes carnival
rides and fireworks. It is a time to appreciate our ancestors
and to recognize their influence on our lives.
Bon Odori, July 23, 2011
Vice president Yumi McDonald served as
our Master of Ceremonies. The UConn Taiko Group, directed by Bob
Jane, led off the program. UConn Taiko is based at the
University of Connecticut in Storrs and was founded in 2004 by
Richard Fu and Cien Kim. The goal of the group is to explore the art
of Taiko drumming in a fun and friendly atmosphere. They practice
Kumi-Daiko, an ensemble style that fuses traditional Japanese Taiko
drumming with modern influences. Members include students,
graduates, and members of the UConn community. They usually perform
at or near the university, but often travel around Connecticut to
share their art. Westport First Selectman, Gordon F. Joseloff,
who worked several years as a correspondent for AP and CBS in Japan,
welcomed us at our sixth Bon Odori held on Jesup Green in Westport.
Our first Bon dance was Tanko-Bushi or the coal miners’ dance.
Lots of people joined in the dance while others just relaxed and
admired the colorful kimonos. We did Hanagasa Ondo or Flower Hat
dance which originated in
Yamagata prefecture. UConn Taiko then performed another set.
The Pokemon Ondo was performed next and the children enjoyed dancing
with Pikachu masks. John McGettigan's Seido Karate Group did a
demonstration and mini workshop on martial arts. The UConn Taiko
Group also held a mini workshop, allowing the audience to try out
We honored two groups which made substantial contributions to the
Earthquake Relief effort. Alice McDonald and Rachel Paul and
others from Staples High School conducted a very successful bake
sale in Westport. The Lao Association of Connecticut were thanked
for holding a Buddhist ceremony in New Britain to collect donations.
Howard Phengsomphone and associates from the Lao Association of
Connecticut also joined us at Bon Odori.
During the day, we had several ongoing events: Yayoi Kennedy
held a water yo-yo event courtesy of Amnet Travel Agency and
the proceeds from the sale of fishing poles to catch water yo-yos
were added to our Earthquake Relief fund. Kenshiro Ohshima, Dr.
Robot, again brought his battling robots to entertain us all.
He showed different toy robots wrestling
or doing Sumo. There was also a sale of Japanese round paper fans or
“Uchiwa” to benefit the relief fund.
We thank Matsu Sushi for their support
where we enjoyed a delightful Japanese dinner after the event as
well as their beverages sold throughout the afternoon.
Enjoy the press coverage of Bon Odori.
WestportNOW.com 's entry 1
WestportNOW.com 's entry 2 which includes many photos
We thank Phyllis Groner for these photos on WestportNOW.
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