Buddhist Temple celebrates Obon

By SUNITA VIJAYAN, The Salinas Californian, July 29, 2007

Salinas, CA (USA) -- The gloomy cast of the sky was in direct contrast to the cheery atmosphere at today's annual Obon Festival in Salinas.

The intricate art of ikebana (Japanese flower arrangement) and tea ceremony demonstrations were just some of the many things available at this year’s celebration, held for nine hours at the Buddhist Temple of Salinas on California Street.

About halfway through the event, San Jose Taiko, a drumming group, performed for more than 200 people who surrounded the outdoor stage area.

Wearing white shorts and brightly-colored short robes, the 10 performers entertained their audience with high energy moves, utilizing percussion instruments including large barrel-shaped drums, bamboo flutes, hand cymbals and gourd shakers.

“It’s my first time seeing the taiko drums here. I usually miss it (every year),” said Glen Sababo of Salinas, who attended with his 12-year-old daughter, Jazy. “They’re pretty good too — I like it.”