My first time at San Jose's obon! Every year San Jose's Saturday obon conflicts with Fresno's, and I didn't think going up for a day by myself was a good idea, so this time the family and I went on a Sunday together. I've also been to obons in Parlier, Orange County (see here and here), San Francisco, Kyoto (pics someday?), and FRESNO's (of course...like every year of my life minus this past one). I really don't know why I haven't been to a Berkeley one. Or Oakland...SABC (Alameda)...Palo Alto...etc. Should have obon hopped more. Oh well. See below for food pics, a brief obon description, and their awesome signs. I love big, clear signs.
See the obon sign?
Japanese Buddhist churches around the US and Japan hold these carnival-like events (obon/bon odori) to celebrate and honor the lives of those who have passed. Traditionally, it's like El Día de los Muertos (The Day of the Dead) celebrations in that people invite their deceased relatives to visit the homes and stuff, but in the US...we don't do the whole lantern-lighting thing. Someone at the Fowler obon said that obon is largely an American thing, but I've been to one in Kyoto, Japan too, so there are celebrations in Japan too. For those who don't know the significance of obon, no one really cares. All you do is come and enjoy some good Japanese food (and apparently non-Japanese food sometimes!), SOME traditional clothing (fewer and fewer people wear yukatas now), and super easy dancing toward the end of the night. The cool part is that everyone is welcome to join in, and no one makes you do anything Buddhist. It feels more like a Japanese cultural event than a religious one, although it is, of course, both.
Vegetable and shrimp tempura, rice, beef skewers, and chicken teriyaki. My dad couldn't stop raving about how good the chicken was, and I agree with him.
One of my favorite things to eat = Finely shaved ice with ice cream in the middle. My church buddy, Tim, told me about this place in San Jose just around the corner from the obon area. He warned me about the 30+-minute line, and he was right...and the shaved ice was worth it!
Tim said that the milk flavor is good, so I got half orange, half milk w/ ice cream at the bottom. SO WONDERFUL! Ate sorta with my parents and brother and Tim and Daniel. It was good seeing friends I hadn't seen in awhile!
*Note to elderly self: I know Tim through Jr. YBA and Daniel through Berkeley's NSU.
With ICE CREAM AT THE BOTTOM. SOOO GOOD.
When we first got there, the fam and I got the chicken and stuff above, and then I decided I was still hungry, so I got udon and split a strawberry shortcake with Mom. The udon was good, but I'm not a huge fan of strawberry shortcake unless it's really good cake. None of that angel food cake or whatever that obons typically use. hehe. You can see kamaboko like the one below (the pink-and-white thing) in many places on my blog. Funny thing is I just eat it because it's there. It doesn't taste good. I prefer to have it chopped up small in my somen salad.
San Jose's taiko performing: