One bonus: Naomi was “nominated” as the local kids’ association chairperson, which meant she spent many a weekend afternoon sitting in long meetings. The meetings culminated in the festivals, but it was a Long March for her. Here’s three cheers for Naomi, the Queen of Kaichos.
We kicked off the dances with an afternoon at Marina’s kindergarten. One major difference this year compared to last was that she was smiling and happy to be there. Last year, she seemed to think she was being fed to the lions at the Coliseum. Weather was warm and humid, of course. I get a kick out of watching the first-year kids trying to walk around with the mini-shrine. It’s all being filmed by hordes of proud parents and grandparents as though it’s a White House news conference--me included. Games for the kids and chatting with other parents are the main attractions.
Next weekend was the neighborhood’s Summer Obon Dance, open to everyone. Instead of her “happy coat” – the blue cotton garment with the red symbol on the back from the prior weekend – Marina donned her summer yukata. Looking very cute, I must say. As was Elena, too. They both enjoy wearing their summer yukata.
The girls had practiced the dance moves for the bon odori dance during many weekends prior to the festival. When their time was called, up on the stage they went for their five minutes of dancing.
Naomi led the kids around for two songs, effectively capping off her responsibility, then sealed it off with a triumphant procession around the shrine with the kids in tow while another group danced onstage. Then she popped a beer. Miller-o time-o!
Part II coming soon!