Secrets of Happy Retirement Life

盆踊り (Bon Odori)





















Last evening around six o’clock, my sister and I went to a nearby temple, Sojiji (the main temple of Soto Zen Buddhism), to see their Bon-odori (Bon dance) festival.


We’ve lived here for quite a long time, but this was the first time we actually went to see this festival. We, however, have often seen their preparations and yukata-clad visitors around the temple this time of the year.


When we got to the parking area where this festivity was going on, we saw children in yukata (summer cotton kimono) accompanied by their parents or grandparents, happily dancing around. There were many Buddhist priest trainees dancing as well, even on top of the scaffold stage. There were happy smiles everywhere. This whole scene made me very happy.


I guess the fact my sister and I finally felt like coming to this festival is due to our leisurely life of retirement. We seem to have more relaxed attitude toward life now.


My sister met a retired couple she knew in our neighborhood, who also came to see this festival for the first time.


I do not recall ever having been to Bon-odori, which has been one of the typical summer events in Japan for centuries. Bon is the period when our ancestral spirits come to visit us. This dancing is part of the rituals to celebrate their visits.


It is often said that the youths these days isolate themselves because they communicate through internet and avoid direct contacts with one another.


While passing through the approach to the temple, we had a hard time getting through the crowd, most of which were young people. There were far more people there than there were on New Year’s Day.