Mountain View's yearly festival of Japanese culture is back this weekend, promising Taiko drums, traditional dancing and tasty Japanese fare.
The Obon Festival and Bazaar, one of the biggest in California, is part of a midsummer Buddhist holiday honoring the deceased. It takes place Saturday and Sunday at the Buddhist Temple on Shoreline Boulevard and is free and open to everyone.
Professional Taiko group Jun Daiko and the Mountain View Buddhist Temple Taiko will ring in this year's festival with a performance at 4 p.m. Saturday and noon on Sunday.
Homemade sushi, teriyaki, musubi, tempura, udon noodles and more from the Buddhist Women's Association will be served, as well as American staples like polish dogs and shaved ice. In addition to the food, all visitors are invited to enjoy the cultural exhibits on topics like flower arrangements and Japanese block printing, craft and cooking booths, and games.
Festival co-chairman Ed Ryu said the drum performances, which will feature a wider range of musicians this year, are a surefire hit.
"We have professionals to young children performing now -- and it's hot!" he said. "This is unbelievable Taiko."
He added that the Odori dance is another annual favorite. "It's a wonderful dance that celebrates our festival," Ryu said. "It's just a great event which we really enjoy hosting once a year."
The Bon Odori dancing will conclude the weekend. Over 400 dancers in traditional Japanese dress will gather to participate, guided by instructor Marilyn Ozawa. The dancers will move to music by the Chidori Band, a favorite Japanese-American musical group from San Jose.
Along with Ryu, this year's festival is co-chaired by Dr. Larry Matsumoto.
What: The Obon Festival and Bazaar
When: Saturday, July 19, from 4 to 10 p.m. and Sunday, July 20, from noon to 9 p.m.
Where: The Mountain View Buddhist Temple, 575 N. Shoreline Blvd.
Contact: For more information, call the Mountain View Buddhist Temple at (650) 964-9426 or visit www.mvbuddhisttemple.org.