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A Boy, A Girl, and The Marine Corps: A Love Triangle: Where have I been?

A Boy, A Girl, and The Marine Corps: A Love Triangle

"I cast my lot with a Marine and where he was, was home to me." ~ Anonymous.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Where have I been?

I haven't posted in a few days, which is unusual for me. I feel like I'm losing my zest for life and thus for blogging.

I'm trying to stay positive. Things are going fairly well for me, but it's also fairly boring.

But I WILL stay positive. So here's a positive post. :)

Most of you do not know that I am half japanese. My father is full japanese and my mother is norwegian. Being mostly japanese, I have a lot of japanese traditions in my family. I am only the third generation to be born in America, and we have since become Catholic, but some things die hard. Like heritage.

This weekend was a japanese festival Obon Odori. It is basically a festival of the dead. It's a time to celebrate the life of your ancestors because, without them, you would not be here. It is held on consecutive weekends at three local buddhist temples. The one in Tacoma, WA is fairly small. The one in Seattle is huge. It is part of Seafair. A celebration that includes hydroplanes and the Blue Angles. Because of that, it is very touristy. The Seafair Pirates come and make a big fuss and there are a lot of tourist that stand and gawk at all the asian people. I really don't care for it.

The one I go to is in a medium sized city about a half hour south of Seattle. It is not so big it's overwhelming and not so small that there is a lack of stuff to do. It's perfect.

It generally consist of food booths, traditional japanese folk music and traditional folk dancing. There are shows, like taiko drumming and goodies for sale. It is a huge part of who I am.

Every year, since I was born my family has gone to Obon Odori. I dance and eat and love my culture. This year I brought a friend along who had never been. It was so great. I explained what I knew of the history of the dances and showed her just how good homemade japanese food is. That is what is so great about Obon. It's all these little old ladies who have had their recipes in their families for generations. The food is to die for. It doesn't get better than homemade.

I laughed a great deal when I encouraged my friend to dance. It really is fairly easy. You dance in a circle and can just follow the person in front of you because the movements repeat themselves over and over. But it can be tricky if you are not used to the movements. She said she really wanted to come again next year so that she can make our husbands dance!

Obon is my favorite time of year. The smell of my favorite foods fill my nostrils and I fill up on treats that I only get once a year. I hear all my favorite folk songs... Songs that get stuck in my head all year round but that I can't remember well because I don't speak japanese. I dance the fluid, purposeful movements of my ancestors as I mimic cole mining or fishing with a net. (Most dances are based on the jobs of old japan like fishing and cole mining.) In years past I have worn kimono's with sandals or happy coats. Something I would love to do again, if I could find one that didn't cost hundreds of dollars.

And every year, I try to bring friends to share it with. So they can see a little piece of japan alive and well in me and my family. I run into my parents every year and this year my nephew was there as well. I wish my husband were there, but he was not so supportive last year. I explained to him how important this part of my life is and I hope that he will be more understanding in the future.

There is something to be said about connecting with your heritage.

I can't wait until Obon Odori comes around again, next year.


Blogger Samantha the ArmyWife said...

That sounds great! I love my italian heritage too... mainly we just eat, haha! So I know how foods and (old) recipes can really take you back and feel centered (persey)... Now that I think of it (never really done the math before) but since my great-grandparents came over on the boat that would make me also (like you) the 3rd generation born in America! ;)
Oh, and you aren't allowed to be ZESTless..!!! Recently I have found that you have to "fake it, till you make it". I tell my self I'm happy and all his well, ect ecy ect ect and before I know it I am better. Give it a shot!=)

July 27, 2009 at 9:42 PM  
Blogger ABW said...

How neat! We went to the one in Tacoma when we were stationed there and my mom was visiting. Seems like a lifetime ago! glad you had a good time and that you take a friend along to share a part of you with. Too cool.

July 29, 2009 at 5:45 PM  

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