Wabi-Sabi Sole

Finding Beauty with Imperfection

Category: Bon

2018 SRF Bon Festival

On Friday, August 24th, SRF-JRMC held their 2018 Bon Festival. All week there was discussion about how Typhoon Cimaron might disrupt the festivities. At one point, it looked like the Typhoon might be a direct hit over the Tokyo area and cause the festival to be canceled. The good news, the storm weakened and made landfall further south of Tokyo. Our area had wind and rain during the day on Friday. Fortunately, by the time the festival started, only the wind remained. The warm and muggy wind felt like hot breath as we enjoyed the festival. But, it was better than no wind at all! Dave and I dressed in traditional attire again this year. I wore a summer kimono known as a yukata. Dave wore a Gin-be.

My friend, Saori, helped me go shopping for my yukata. I really loves the colors; especially the yellow.

I invited my friends, Atsuko and Manami, to be my special VIP guests for the evening. They enjoyed the opportunity to experience a Japanese cultural tradition on the Navy base.

During the week, Dave and I attended dance lessons during lunch time. The traditional six dances are performed as a group in a circle. The steps and rhythm are repetitive. Theoretically, they should be easy to learn after a few sessions. I felt pretty good going into the evening to perform the dances. Then I learned the dancing was at 8pm. After I had a couple of chu-hai. We gave it a shot anyways. I obviously needed more lessons. In this picture Manami took of Dave and me, I’m clapping when I should be digging!

In the end, it was a wonderful night. This was our third and final Bon Dori Festival. It made me a little sad to think about missing the party next year. Maybe Dave and I can be creative and figure out ways to incorporate our favorite Japanese traditions and holidays into our life when we return to the US next year. Who doesn’t love a party!?! Perhaps without the dancing!

SRF Bon Festival 

Dave’s command hosted a Bon Festival on Friday, August 25th. Bon is a Japanese Buddhist tradition to honor the spirits of the ancestors. The festival was a huge success. There was a large attendance of SRF employees, their families, and military members and families of the Yokosuka community. There were a variety of American and Japanese food vendors, beverages, and games for kids. A large stage was assembled where numerous types of dances were performed throughout the evening. 


I invited my friend, Miki, and her husband to join us for the celebration. 


For the festival, Dave and I both wore the Japanese summer kimono- a Yukata. I was dressed for the evening by a kimono expert! 


Miki found the Yukata for me and helped me find a matching obi. The kimono dresser made my obi into a beautiful bow! I received numerous compliments on my big bow! Kawaii! 


Dave also received compliments. On the back of his Yukata was Sakura. 


A highlight of the evening was a story Miki told me about local Bon Festivals. The celebration continues until 9pm. At 9pm, the kids attending the festival are given free ice cream. This signals the end of the festival and time to go home. One of the officers in the SRF wardroom came around towards the end of the festival giving away Klondike bars. It was a funny coincidence! Miki enjoyed her free ice cream! 


Out of respect for the fallen sailors aboard the USS John McCain, the celebration part of SRF Bon Festival was a bit subdued. The dances were performed, however, we did not participate. During the opening ceremony of the festival a moment of silence was held for the 10 sailors who died, their families, and shipmates. We continue to hold them in our hearts and thoughts during this incredibly difficult time. 

Dance lessons

Dance Lessons? Yes, today I took a 30 minute dance lesson to learn the traditional Japanese dances of the summer festival, Bon. Friday, Dave’s work is hosting Obon or Bon. Bon is a Japanese Buddhist custom honoring the family’s ancestors. The lessons are provided to help those who aren’t familiar (me) with the Bon Odori (Bon dance) to learn the steps before we dance on Friday. 


Did I mention we are dancing on a stage. Seriously. I walked by it today still under construction. It looks festive and ready for a fun party! 


I also haven’t mentioned that I will be wearing a Japanese Yukata (summer kimono). Dave will also be wearing a Yukata and dancing on the stage with me. Actually, it’s more accurate to say I’ll be dancing on the stage with him! We will have one more lesson on Friday before the event. Today I learned five different dances. It took me about halfway through each song to find the pattern and learn the moves. The dances are performed in a circle and ideally everyone is moving together. It helped me to add words to my actions. For example: shovel, shovel, carry, carry, push, push, swim. Or another: clap, clap, up and side, side, star touch, star touch, turn, turn. The one with the back up steps was tricky. My favorite was the hula one. I had that one down quickly!! 

I know you’re excited to see us in our Yukata! Hopefully, I can have someone record a video of us dancing! 👘🏮

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