Seattle Bon Odori

During my childhood in Japan, I’d find refuge at my grandmother’s because, unlike my parents, she didn’t give me a money-doesn’t-grow-on-trees spiel when I turned on the AC. Japanese summers are heavy with humidity and filled with the sound of cicada beetles wailing incessantly in the trees. Staying indoors is the way to go, but still we’d brave the unforgiving heat to celebrate Bon Odori (literally, “to dance”). You can, too, at Seattle Bon Odori (through Sunday), which in Buddhist tradition calls for us to gather and dance to commemorate the spirits of those who’ve passed. Related activities include Ichiro dance (you’ll get it when you see it), flower arrangements, Taiko demonstrations, and even a sake garden (!), where my grandmother would be devastated to see me now throwing back shots. Sometimes having family in faraway places is also a blessing. Seattle Buddhist Temple, 1427 S. Main St., 328-0800, Free. 4–10 p.m. ERIKA HOBART

July 19-20, 4 p.m., 2008

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