Mother Nature dabbles in this year’s bon season

KAPA‘IA — Flying saucers will be coming to Kapa‘ia in about two weeks.

That’s when the Lihu‘e Hongwanji Mission opens the 2007 obon season with the first obon dance of the season on June 8 and 9.

Mother Nature has had her hands in this year’s season as well.

Ted Inouye, the chairman for the Lihu‘e Hongwanji Mission bon dance, and Masa Arita, chair for the country store, said about 1,600 ears of fresh corn will not be ready when the first taiko signals the start of the season.

“It’s all a part of the fund-raising for bon dance,” Inouye said. “But from the way things look now, the corn will be ready the week after.”

To compensate for this, Inouye and Arita said church members will be selling fresh corn at Wal-Mart and Kmart on June 17. Corn will also be available at the Lihu‘e Hongwanji Mission in Kapa‘ia.

But that was not the only issue volunteers had to contend with while setting up the yagura and lights for the season’s first bon dance. The poinciana tree that served as anchor for strings of light had toppled earlier in the year.

“It was all diseased and termite-eaten,” Ricky Tokunaga, another of the bon dance leaders, said. “The inside of the trunk was all hollow and people were using it as a trash can.”

To compensate for the loss of the natural anchor, a concrete foundation for a light pole was poured earlier, and on Saturday, volunteers used a pickup truck to erect a solid metal pole to anchor strings of light that help illuminate the grounds outside the bon dance ring.

But those are issues that have already been taken care of. Inouye said there will be lots of food for people to enjoy.

“There’s always the good-tasting flying saucers,” the bon dance chair said. Additionally, Inouye said the food booth menu calls for saimin, a dish he claims is the best, shave ice, yakitori and beef sticks, and a plate lunch offering.

“The dinner plate will be available from 5 p.m. on both nights,” Inouye said. This will be followed by the country store opening at 6 p.m. with the bon dancing to start around 7:45 p.m. on both nights.

One of the facets for the Lihu‘e Hongwanji is the tossing of plastic eggs containing goodies. This usually takes place during the intermission.

Reverend Midori Kondo, the resident minister for the Lihu‘e Hongwanji Mission, said since this is the Year of the Boar, the church selected six people to toss the eggs during intermission.

“These are people who were born during the Year of the Boar,” Kondo said. “This year we will have Gladys Fujiuchi, Earl Nishiguchi, Kyle Ichimasa, Darryl Matsumura, Gail Oride and Mary Ann Kusaka, the former mayor, doing the honors.”

Intermission entertainment also calls for members of Taiko Kaua‘i to perform on June 8.

“We want to ressurect the tradition of the Fukushima Ondo to draw people back into the ring after the performance,” Judi Murakami, one of the Taiko Kaua‘i leaders, said. “We have been practicing that first thing during our meetings.”

In addition to the food, dancing and entertainment, Inouye said, “There will be lots of keiki activities being coordinated by the preschool.”

Some of these include the popular fish pond and ring toss, said Arita.

With less than two weeks remaining, Inouye has been busy setting up time lines for projects that need to be completed prior to the bon dance.

“Now, hopefully, Mother Nature will cooperate and we won’t have rain,” he said.

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