Japan Society of Fairfield County
Bon Odori and Tanabata, July 25, 2010

Bon Dancing The Japan Society of Fairfield County held its 17th Annual Bon Odori, Summer Festival, on July 25th 2010 in Westport.  Held annually all over Japan since 657 A.D., Bon Odori is Japan’s main outdoor summer festival. They return to their 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 the continuation of their influence on our lives.   

We chose to delay our event from July 10 when there was an 80% chance of heavy rain.  The front parted and left Westport dry.  Although there was only a 30% chance of rain on the 25th it rained anyway.  We were able to complete most of our program and thank those of you who attended.

Otatsu Taiko Sandra Shen's Otatsu Taiko from Stamford led off our program.  Director Marilyn Moore served as our Master of Ceremonies.  Westport First Selectman, Gordon F. Joseloff, who worked several years as a corresponent for AP and CBS in Japan welcomed us again. The first dance was Tanko-Bushi or the coal miners’ dance.  There were lots of people joining in the dance while others just relaxed and admired the colorful kimonos.  This year for the first time we did Hanagasa Ondo or Flower Hat dance which originated Junko Fisherin Yamagata prefecture.  Junko Fisher sang three songs while accompanying herself on the  sanshin:   Okinawa Sodachi, Shin Densa Bushi, and Asadoya Yunta. Okinawa Sodachi is a song about a young girl with a flower in her hair singing about Okinawa's common folk including sweet potato farmers.  Shin Densa Bushi is a song expressing the joy of learning Okinawan songs and sanshin and sharing them.  The melody of Asadoya Yunta is one of the best known traditional Okinawan songs and often performed by sanshin fans.

As the rain began, we compressed our program and started the youth Taiko workshop, a water yo-yo event courtesy of Amnet Company, battling robots, and tanabata decoration.

Tanabata Tanabata, the Star Festival, is celebrated by writing a wish on a tanzaku, a small piece of paper, and hanging it on a long bamboo pole decorated with origami ornaments. Tanabata (seven evenings) celebrates the meeting of two stars; Orihime (Vega) and Hikoboshi (Altair). The Milky Way separates these lovers and they are allowed to meet only once a year.

We thank Matsu Sushi for their support. 
Enjoy the press coverage of Bon Odori. 's entry 1 's entry 2 which include 37 photos
We thank Phyllis Groner for these photos on WestportNOW.
Westport Patch
Westport News

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