Friday, July 10, 2009

hawaii volunteers

Yesterday I went to help my mom and some people from her church make tsukemono.

Almost every trip home, I go to help at least once. This usually involves lots of lifting and peeling pounds and pounds of daikon for takuan and kogen (two types of tsukemono (Japanese pickles)). Sometimes it involves other veggies when they are making other types.

Yesterday they were making takuan and kogen...150 pounds of daikon for each type.

With about 20 people we were done in no time. It was interesting listening to the groups of people chatter on about topics like "what they are growing in their garden" to "Michael Jackson".

These pickles will be sold at their upcoming Bon Dance in August.

The bon dance which started in Japan is like a party for you to welcome back your ancestors during the O-bon season in August. There is usually a big taiko (drum), a singer and some other Japanese instruments like a shamisen (looks like a 3 string guitar of sorts) that play various Japanese songs perched on a high stage, while the participants (including you) dance around the high stage.

If I am not mistaken, dancing around the high stage is how you welcome your ancestors back. I do remember while growing up that we had to go at least one time around to get some shave ice. (bribery?? maybe.)

The bon dances in Hawaii have food booths and sometimes games, it may look kind of like a county fair or what we call carnivals. While Japan does not have many bon dances these days, Hawaii seems to preserve what culture our immigrant ancestors brought with them hundreds of years ago.

Satoshi and I have volunteered in the andagi (okinawan donuts) booth at my church and have not forgotten the overwhelming heat and hard work that goes into producing these tasty treats.

I think the Bon Dance season has started in Hawaii, if you have some time you should check it out, the local newspapers usually lists all the bon dance dates and times, it is a great way to get some good local food and welcome your ancestors back.

7 comments:

2kamuela47 said...

I think it's great volunteering your time to make tsukemono. I can imagine working at the andagi booth too...I bet it's intense like working at a malasada booth too!

K and S said...

Thanks Laura :)

Take care.
Kat

Rowena... said...

Sounds like so much fun (listening to the gossiping part - hee hee). Yep that's one thing about Hawaii, the traditions. Gotta do all we can to keep them alive. ^-^

Debinhawaii said...

You know I have never gone to a Bon Dance but maybe I'll have to check it out sometime--sounds like fun. So nice of you to volunteer your time.

It was fun to hang out with you today!

K and S said...

I hope the next generation can keep these traditions alive Rowena :)

If you have a chance definitely check them out, Deb :) I had fun today too!

Take care you two.
Kat

Pandabonium said...

Ironically, I miss bon dances because I live in Japan. Kashima City has two each year - one out near us, and another in town. But on Maui, (as on Oahu) the temples took turns holding them every weekend, with larger temples having two. For 20 years I tried not to miss any of them. One of the cool things about them that is different from Japan is that the number of songs/dances is large. Here we just dance to two songs.

K and S said...

wow just two songs :( that would make me miss the bon dances in hawaii, pb.

take care.
kat