I thought it was a little bit strange to see so many people at the bus terminal when I got off the bus last Friday. It was near nine o’clock in the evening. I was on my way home from summer intensive courses at a collage.
The place is usually quiet at night. But the day was not. There were many people around there. Some people in a kind of sashes written a slogan “Road Safety” were standing at each side of the crosswalk before the terminal, saying “Hello! Welcome home!”
“What’s happening?” When I thought that, I heard the sound of a drum. Ah, yes! It was the Bon dancing festival in my area! I decided to drop by the festival before coming back home.
It was alive with people. I saw children in yukata, or informal kimono for summer, buying something at stalls. Many elderly people and children are dancing. Women are chattering and laughing. Men are drinking beer. I found one of my neighbors selling food at a booth there.
She is from Bangladesh and the head of Bangladesh Association. She was also wearing yukata. It was really nice on her. The notice said curry and rice, and vegetable croquettes, but I didn’t see anything at her booth. I asked her, “Are all food sold out?” She replied, “Yes…I’m sorry I don’t have anything to sell you! But I still have curry sauce and rice. Try it!” Then she treated me. The curry had no meat and vegetables for topping, but the taste was good.
While eating the curry, a few women came to the booth. All of them were not Japanese. My apartment complex has many foreigners. I saw people from various countries enjoying the festival when I looked over. I know one of the women, she is from Pakistan. They were also given the curry. All of us enjoyed ourselves having curry and chattering.
The next day I went to the Bon dancing festival because I wanted to have the curry again and tried the vegetable croquettes. As eating them with beer, I saw the place. There were so many non-Japanese people.
Essentially, the Bon dancing is a kind of ritual in Japan. Bon is Japanese Buddhist custom to offer prayers and food for ancestors. As far as I see, the Bon dancing festival in my area has no proper meanings, but I think it is a good opportunity to know and communicate each other in the neighborhood.