Can you believe it? All the preparation and anticipation that started back in March and in a blink of an eye, Obon is over. Otsukaresama deshita. Thank you to everyone for your support of the Obon festival. It’s so wonderful to walk around the Obon and see our temple members working very hard and doing so with a smile on their faces. It’s truly a joyous time.
As you know, Obon is the largest revenue generator for the temple. Unofficially, Obon revenue for this year is $378,269 which is $32,621 over last year’s total. However, before we celebrate too much, we still have to determine the net after all the Obon bills have been paid. One hiccup we had this year was a shortage of 200 lbs. of beef from our order for teriyaki beef. That would have obliterated the old record!
The extra income will help to pay for improvements to the temple’s business infrastructure such as upgrade to the phone system, software, computers, the WiFi in the gym and the Education Building. I’m sure we’ll find many other things that require replacing or upgrading.
If you were dancing on Saturday, you would have heard Dennis Akizuki announce that the previous dancer participation record of 1,517 was broken. The new record is 1526. Every year, we seem to be able to make a new dance participation record. I’ve heard grumblings from some dancers that they don’t want more dancers because the dance ring is already too crowded but my job is to welcome as many guests as possible to come and enjoy themselves and to join the Obon Odori. Sorry.
Did you know San Jose Japantown is considered by National Geographic Traveler as one of the top 28 friendly city neighborhood locations in the nation? Over 200 cities were considered but did not make the list. Other California city neighborhoods that made the list includes North Beach of San Francisco, Downtown Los Angeles and Little Italy, San Diego so we are on a very short list of great city neighborhoods. On the website, a photo of a taiko drummer represents San Jose Japantown.
Thank you to all the merchants for their generous donations. The temple really appreciated your donations and support. The donated items went to the Bingo area and some lucky people went home very happy with some nice prizes.
As you know, Obon is not all fun and games. It is a time of reflection. A time to remember people who have passed on before us. We must not forget how they affected our lives. What did they teach us? What did we learn from them? They may not have intended to teach us but by listening and watching, we have learned something that they have passed on to you. There are so many things we have learned and continue to learn from others. Be honest, be fair, be respectful, be careful while driving, don’t hang around bad people, study hard… These are only a few I could think of but they are all words of wisdom that our loved ones hoped to instill in you. We should try our best to teach, encourage and guide children and others we care for to be successful.
As we bask after another record-breaking year, let’s enjoy our accomplishments together.
Thanks again to everyone! Minasan, domo arigato gozaimashita!