Planning with COVID Uncertainty
It was already April and normally we would be having our first Obon Festival planning meeting at the end of the month. But as we all know too well, this year (like the past couple years) was anything but normal. With COVID concerns still looming, we were faced with a big question: Should we plan to have a ‘real live’ Obon Festival, or will it be online only? We decided to delay our decision because we were hoping COVID rates would drop and we’d be able to have some sort of in-person event. Delaying the decision would cause some stress, but we really wanted to try to have a live and in-person event. Working together with the MVBT Reopening Task Force and the MVBT Health & Safety Committee, we decided to move forward with a members only, in-person event. We’d like to thank both of these committees for their time and commitment to making this event possible.
Successful Obon Festival In Person
On Saturday, July 16, approximately 250 MVBT members and their families met on the MVBT grounds to celebrate Obon in person. It had been three years since MVBT held an in-person Obon Festival.
Everyone had a great time
- Enjoying delicious bento boxes, futomaki, spam musubi and manju;
- Watching the kids play Shooting Gallery, Hoop-La, Goldfish, Grab Bag and Tic-Tac-Toe;
- Playing BINGO;
- Listening to the sounds of MVBT Taiko, Jun Daiko and the MVBT Ukulele Club + Choir; and
- Catching up with old friends.
While we missed Rev. Mukojima, who was visiting his family in Japan, we were fortunate to have our two Minister’s Assistants, John Arima and Devon Matsumoto, lead us through an outdoor service.
Everyone ended the day dancing to the classic Obon Odori music led by Marilyn Ozawa.
For those who couldn’t attend in person, Sue Yuen provided roving reporter live updates and additional online content that was enjoyed by people at home via Zoom.
Thankful Obon Festival
One Sangha member captured the day best in a thank you letter sent to the Obon Committee –
“Thank you and all the people for opening the Temple for our mini Obon. It was great. Was so nice to see so many friends again. Bento was good and had a wonderful time playing Bingo, too. I was so happy to be able to be at the Temple again with people.”
Reading this letter brought tears to our eyes and proved that the decision to have an in-person event was well worth the effort and was the right thing to do.
Thank you to everyone for all their help and support in putting on our 2022 Obon-Not-At-Home event. BIG thanks to all our donors & sponsors who purchased lanterns and contributed generously to MVBT!
With Gratitude & Gassho,
The Zone 12 Obon Committee
Cindy & Nate, Mieko & Ken,
Lisa & Dan, Sheila & Rick, and
Phyllis & Doug