SoCal Japanese Americans anticipate joyful summer celebrations

LOS ANGELES — Japanese Americans in Southern California are gearing up for a summer of festivals — both the Buddhist Obon observances and secular summer celebrations — that include dancing and carnivals. Obon is a traditional Japanese Buddhist event to honor and thank one’s ancestors for the gift of life. The meaning of Obon, according […]

Summer festivals in the East Bay

The annual observance of Obon in the East Bay is both a time for the area’s Japanese Americans to remember their loved ones and an opportunity for the community to learn more about Buddhism. With a high concentration of Japanese Americans living in the area, the East Bay has multiple Obon and bazaar events. Set […]

Central Valley summer festivals

Marysville Buddhist Church The Marysville Buddhist Church’s summer highlight is its Obon festival. According to the Marysville Buddhist Church’s Website, the church was officially established on April 1, 1908. However, since then, its congregation, and attendance for the church’s summer events, have also decreased. According to part-time church Secretary Joyce Nakatsu, “One hundred-something” people participate […]

‘Phantoms’ takes a modern look at ancient Asian cultural beliefs

Exploring themes of life, death and beyond, “Phantoms of Asia: Contemporary Awakens the Past” is the Asian Art Museum’s first large-scale contemporary art exhibit. Examining timeless themes and questions of the cosmos, “Phantoms” features more than 150 artworks, combining 60 new works with objects from the museum’s current collection. This exhibit blends new perspectives of […]

Anecdotes from times now past

THE DEMON AT AGI BRIDGE AND OTHER JAPANESE TALES Edited by Haruo Shirane and translated by Burton Watson (New York: Columbia University Press, 2010, 160 pp., $22.50, paperback) Ancient texts from Japan are always a pleasure to read. They are filled with some of most fanciful stories available to readers, and provide enchanting tales similar […]

THE GOCHISO GOURMET: Remembering the past

Now that we’re into the full summer tilt, there are unmistakable signs of the season: predictable unbearably hot summer weather, the return of termites, with their inevitable swarms on those windless nights and the sound of the taiko from the yagura on weekends commemorating the start of the Obon season. Though it started as a […]

THEN AND NOW: Obon throughout the years in California’s Central Valley

California’s Central Valley has always had a large Japanese American population. Many Buddhist temples and Japantowns were founded in the Central Valley, as Japanese farmers and Asians of other origins flowed in. After World War II, many people of Japanese descent returned to the Central Valley and picked up the pieces from their previous life. […]

Going green, one small step at a time

SAN JOSE — Stan Kawamata lifted up a colorful plastic bin containing worms wriggling around in the soil in order to demonstrate the process of creating a worm farm. Kawamata’s worm composting exhibit was among the demonstrations at an Earth Day celebration sponsored by the San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin EcoSangha, which was held on […]

BOOK REVIEW: The culture of Issei Buddhism

ISSEI BUDDHISM IN THE AMERICAS Edited By Duncan Ryuken Williams and Tomoe Moriya (Champaign, Ill.: University of Illinois Press, 2010, 216 pp., $25, paperback) For academics and others interested in religious, Asian American, and/or Japanese American studies, editors Duncan Ryuken Williams and Tomoe Moriya have assembled a wide-ranging collection of articles on Buddhism in the […]

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