KAPAA — June 3 is less than a month away, generating a crowd of several dozen people on Monday at the social hall at the Kapaa Hongwanji Mission.
“Bon dance is getting close,” said Gloria Shimizu of the Kauai Japanese Cultural Society. “This is the biggest crowd we’ve had so far. As the first bon dance gets closer, more people come out.”
Monday was the first practice in the month of May where people can learn the new dances for this year’s bon dance season, practice on the perennial favorite numbers, and even learn how to tie the obi, or sash for kimono.
“It is always good to learn how to tie obi,” said Hiroko Kunioka. “Sometimes, there are no helpers at the bon dance.”
Wayne Fujioka, chair of the Lihue Hongwanji Mission bon dance, announced their event on June 3 and 4 at the Kapaia temple grounds. This marks the start of the Kauai Buddhist Council bon dance season which runs most weekends at different Buddhist temple grounds through Aug. 5 and 6.
“There will be food, including andagi, or Okinawan doughnuts, flying saucer, pronto pup, saimin, shave ice, yakitori, and soft drinks,” Fujioka said. “Additionally, there will be a country store, a variety of children’s games, entertainment, and of course, bon dancing.”
Fujioka said dinner plates will be available from 5 p.m. on both nights. The food counter sales and the country store will open from 6 p.m. Bon dancing starts from 7:30 p.m. on both nights.
Bon dancing is steeped in Buddhist tradition, but in Hawaii, has evolved to become a family-friendly community event where neighbors meet up to catch up on the latest events, children meet friends for enjoyment, and the hosting church has come to realize the event as a fundraising event for its operations.
All bon odori begins at 7:30 p.m.
June 3-4: Lihue Hongwanji Mission
June 10-11: Waimea Shingon Mission
June 17-18: Kapaa Jodo Mission
July 8-9: Kapaa Hongwanji Mission
July 15-16: Waimea Higashi Hongwanji
July 22-23: Kauai Soto Zenshuji, Hanapepe
July 29-30: Koloa Jodo Mission
Aug. 5-6: West Kauai Hongwanji, Hanapepe Temple
Bon Dance Practice Schedule and Locations
Kapaa Hongwanji – Mondays, 7 p.m., May 2 through May 30.
Kapaa Jodo Mission – Thursdays, 7 p.m., May 5 through May 26.
Koloa Jodo Mission – Tuesdays, 6:30 p.m., May 3 through May 31.
West Kauai Hongwanji, Hanapepe temple – Thursdays, 6 p.m., Apr. 7 through May 26.
Lihue Hongwanji Mission – Fridays, 7:30 p.m., May 6 through May 27.