Amazing! July is finally here and what does that mean? Obon, of course. I hope that you all have heard that we will once again host an in-person Obon. As we emerge from the long pandemic, this year’s Obon will be slightly different from what everyone has come to expect. Someone has termed it a “transitional Obon” as it will not be quite the same as past Obons. We will be missing a few of our normal food and game booths. However, the vast majority of activities will be back….food, games, Chidori Band, collegiate and San Jose Taiko, Buddhism 101 in the Hondo, and of course, Obon Odori. We are still looking for more volunteers so please see the link for volunteer signups later in this Dharma.
Beyond the festival itself, Obon is a time to remember the past. It is a time to remember family and friends that we may have lost. This year, the entire Japanese American community also lost a friend, Norm Mineta. It was very special that the motorcade bringing Norm back to San Jose stopped momentarily in front of the Hondo, as well as Wesley Methodist Church and the railroad crossing near 5th and Empire where he was boarded on a train headed to “camp”. His leadership will be missed.
This year, July is also a time to look to the future. We have been working on a plan to replace the aging Education building with a completely new facility. This new facility will provide modern amenities to the Dharma School, Japanese Language School, Boy and Girl Scout organizations and especially to the Lotus Preschool. Plans have been announced at two presentations, one for the Sangha and one for the Japantown community at large. If you missed it, we will have an informational booth at Obon to allow you to see the plans. Of course, this will require significant capital funds and we hope that you will join us in this effort to provide a vibrant future for the Betsuin.