Hard to believe, but Obon 2021 is in the books! This was only possible because of the tremendous efforts of the Obon committee to conceive of, prepare for and conduct the entire weekend long program. This program consisted of two distinctly separate events. Saturday was our “Sangha Summer” program which consisted of producing about 1,500 take-out bentos and provided an opportunity for a few Sangha members to eat and visit with friends while also viewing some live entertainment. Sunday was our “Obon@Home Mō Ichido” event which was our live virtual online event that could be viewed by everyone. This consisted of live interviews along with pre- recorded videos on many subjects including some of the Sangha Summer entertainment from the prior day.

So, what did I learn from Obon 2021? I learned that our Sangha remains strong and vibrant…even through this pandemic. When this idea of producing take-out bentos was mentioned, many people stepped up to build upon the idea. This was obviously different from our usual event and required a lot of “thinking outside of the box”. There was tremendous enthusiasm throughout the Sangha to volunteer to help in anyway that they could. And then to hear such positive comments from participants, both volunteers and attendees. I know that it brought smiles to many, especially some of our more senior members!

Unfortunately, due to the current conditions, we could not have the “full blown” Obon that we are all used to. But we are getting closer! From a normal Obon in 2019, to no Obon in 2020, to a partial Obon in 2021…we are heading in the right direction. So, continue to do your part to end this pandemic and we hope to have a full blown Obon celebration in 2022!

Once again, many thanks to all of the volunteers that helped to make this a great event!

In Gassho,