Obon or Bon is a Japanese Buddhist custom to honor the deceased spirits of one's ancestors. Nowadays it has evolved into a family reunion type of holiday where people go back to their hometowns to visit their ancestor's graves. The spirits of the ancestors are then supposed to revisit the household altars.
Also during Bon Odori week there are festivals and dancing in just about every little town and section of the cities.
John, Olivia (a 2nd year JET) and I took part in the Bon Odori dancing! Bon dancing kind of reminds me of a country line dance or electric slide.... where there's a set sequence of steps moves and singing... Except for this dancing you circle around the main lanterned stage where Taiko drummers drum and you keep dancing and dancing and dancing and dancing. I think the 20 second dance sequence lasted for 45 minutes!!!!!
For the first 45 minutes - the children (and us) danced away...
After the kids finished, they rushed them off so that the adults could take center stage. We then had to learn a new set of dancing steps.... But this time the 30 second dance sequence lasted 1 1/2 hours!!! People from the dancing circle kept pulling us back in if we tried to sneak out. :)
Some of the dancers were a bit more creative with the moves than others. Check out my favorite dancer in the yellow t-shirt!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He is phenomenal and inspirational AND my new hero. We joined in after him, but sadly our technique and finesse could never compare.