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Another great year for the Obon Festival

Original post made on Jul 23, 2009

The Mountain View Buddhist Temple celebrated its 57th Obon Festival and Bazaar over the weekend, with great food, colorful dancing and good times.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, July 23, 2009, 10:03 AM

Comments (13)

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Posted by Becky
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jul 23, 2009 at 4:58 pm

I never knew about the Temple, though I drove by it every day, until my son joined their Cub Scout pack. We really appreciate the Temple for hosting his Pack. What a good community resource they are. He has had so much fun participating in Oban and working in the "Hoopla" ring toss booth. We also enjoyed the food, the bingo, and the music and dance. There is so much going on in Mountain View, but If you haven't visited The Buddhist Temple, you are missing something big. If you have kids, take them here next year for Oban and give them each twenty bucks to win prizes, It'll last all day. They never had more fun for less money. Don't forget to drag them away from the Bazaar to see the music and dance and do some hands on crafts.

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Posted by Debbie
a resident of Jackson Park
on Jul 23, 2009 at 6:53 pm

As someone who lives in the neighborhood, I really dread this event each year. Stierlin Road is not meant to deal with the type of traffic this event creates. My main gripe is the illegal U-turns that people are doing (in order to get to the parking area) seem to be sanctioned by the Mountain View Police. Each year the temple posts a sign telling people that parking is basically a U-turn away. So people are making illegal U-turns over double lines RIGHT in front of cars coming the other way and they rarely are able to make the turn in one try. This year there was even a policeman in the parking lot of the Portugese hall and he turned a blind eye. If you are thinking, that there are other ways in and out of the neighborhood you are right and they were usually blocked with traffic too.

As far as I can tell the temple couldn't care less about people who live in the area. They don't even give us a courtesy notice telling us that the event is going to happen. Our first clue is when they start building stuff for the event. I would have gone out of town if I had known a few weeks in advance that this event was going to be this past week.

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Posted by tommygee
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jul 23, 2009 at 9:22 pm

I enjoyed the Obon Festival as I do every year. I first attended the Obon when I was 10, in 1965, and have been going ever since. And when I was 10, the Obon had a dunking machine. I paid my dollar (yes) and received three baseballs. My first throw hit the bullseye and the person fell into the water. My 2nd ball hit the edge of the bullseye. My 3rd ball hit the bullseye and the person fell into the water. Everyone was in awe and so was I. Here it is 2009, there was no dunking machine, but I still remember what I did 44 years ago.
By the way, this event always takes place on the 2nd or 3rd weekend of July---SO DEBBIE BE AWARE.

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Posted by Nick Perry
a resident of another community
on Jul 24, 2009 at 9:54 am

You got it Becky! When I was a little the whole extended family would go to the Obon and we'd have hours of fun together in the game booths for the price of pennys. It was simple, it was laid-back, it was summer. Still is. Mmm and the corn on the cob! Now that I'm an adult, I love the Obon for the food, the culture, and especially the sense of Mtn. View community; without out any advance planning, I run into family, old classmates, my parents' MV High Eagle classmates, and even friends of my grandparents who are still out and about. The funny part is, *none* of us are Buddhist or Japanese. The Obon has always been such an open, friendly, and welcoming event that people who've lived in that part of Mountain View long enough, regardless of religion or ethnicity, just go as a part of their summer routine. It's events like Obon that have long made Mtn. View a unique and awesome place to live. Thank you to all who make it happen!


Stierlin Road was built to hold much more traffic than it does today. Be thankful you didn't live near it before the temple was built. Back then - before Shoreline Blvd was built in 1969 - it was a direct link between Castro Street and the Bayshore Highway (101) and was the *only* road connecting Mountain View to the bayside garbage dumps. Not only did it carry cross-town traffic, it had stinky dump trucks on it too.

So here's the thing:

-This event happens *once* a year.
-It's been going on for *57* years.

In other words, people have been using Stierlin Road to access the festival parking lot for 2 measly days out of 365 days a year for nearly six decades. The police and temple probably have a long-standing routine worked out to manage the festival. A call to the Reverend of the temple asking for advance notice would probably be more effective than griping here if you really want to leave town during next year's Obon. Or, you can take the "if you can't fight em', join em' " approach: enjoy the nice July Mtn. View weather, walk around your neighborhood, and join/meet some of your neighbors at the Obon. I'll even treat you to a shave ice and corn on the cob.

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Posted by jane
a resident of North Whisman
on Jul 24, 2009 at 12:26 pm

(Some of you might recognize my photo - the red-head with the smile in the "Animal Pitch" booth.)

The Temple is the Charter Organization for Boy Scout Troop 87, and every year Troop 87 volunteers in Obon - from helping table set-up, parking lot layout, directing traffic in the parking lot, busing trays in the dining area, and the Animal Pitch Booth. I volunteer in the booth and see many people year-after-year...all of them having a great time! The Temple provides a great location for Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, 4H, and a host of other organizations as the sponsor, host, or charter organization for those groups.

The Obon Festival benefits the temple as their major fundraiser each year, but I agree with Nick in that the sense of community and low-cost to no-cost activities are a great asset to Mountain View as a whole.

I understand that traffic can be frustrating, yet I think that the temple and the Police Department can come up with a method to let neighbors know in advance.

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Posted by tommygee
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jul 24, 2009 at 3:55 pm

Back before the road was widened and the name changed to Shoreline Blvd (the entire road was Stierlin Rd from the dump to Montecito, whereby you would turn left to continue onto Stierlin, or continue straight on the road as the name changed to 'Bailey Ave.' towards El Camino, hence the Bailey shopping center where Safeway is)Stierlin Rd was a two lane road, and even Middlefield Rd. was a two lane road. And Bailey was a two lane roadway all the way to El Camino. And finally in 1969 and 1970 work began to widen this entire roadway as we see it today. When Shoreline Park was openned over a decade later, the entire roadway from the Park (the former dump) to El Camino was renamed Shoreline Blvd.
But concerning the OBON festival, I always run into people I know. As for traffic, the cars to show up as do the people. I live close by so I either walk, or drive my car and park in the Safeway parking lot. But most of the time I walk to it.
But I never felt that I had to be a buddhist to enjoy my time at the festival, as I said earlier I have been coming to this event since 1965.
So Debbie, it is not as bad as you make it out to be...

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Posted by Ron Murata, Mel Inouye & Bryan Nishimoto
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jul 24, 2009 at 4:45 pm

As President of the Mountain View Buddhist Temple and co-chairs of the event we would like to thank everybody, temple members, relatives and friends, that volunteered their time and talents in making this years event a success. We'd like to also thank everybody that attended our event too because without you the event wouldn't happen.


We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience or disruption our Obon festival causes to the neighborhood. We are aware of the impact the increased traffic causes to the area, and have tried to address it by the signage on the adjacent apartment complex and Bailey Park Plaza reminding Obon-goers that they are not to use those areas. We try to discourage people cutting accross Shoreline Blvd. by installing a pedestrian barrier. We also offer free parking on our large back lot in an effort to minimize parking on the street.

As far as the U-turn you are referring to, it is not illegal to make a U-turn over a doulble yellow line at that location (verified by the Mountain View Police Department). Of course, it is incumbent on the driver to use caution whenever making any turn to insure it is done safely.

We do send notices to the closest of our neighbors (the management of two apartment complexes and the Safeway Store) informing them of our upcoming event. We also obtain the City of Mountain View Special Event permit as required. We are uncertain how practical it would be to notify each individual resident in the neighborhood. We do post the front of our Temple on Shoreline Blvd. with the sign announcing the event and dates about a week in advance, and as you say, most notice our booth construction, which starts the Tuesday prior to the Obon. We also list our Obon schedule at our wesite at

Our Obon Festval has been held on our Shoreline Temple grounds every year since we moved here from downtown Mountain View in 1957. It has been held on the third full weekend of July for at least the last 30 of those years and will continue to be held on that weekend of July.

If you or anyone else who is impacted would provide us with your street address or e-mail address, we will be sure to notify you along with our neighbors at least one month in advance. You can contact us at

Ron Murata, Mountain View Buddhist Temple President
Mel Inouye, Mountain View Obon Festival Co-Cahirperson, 2009
Bryan Nishimoto, Mountain View Obon Festival Co-Chairperson, 2009

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Posted by MV-resident
a resident of North Whisman
on Jul 25, 2009 at 2:50 pm


I attended this year's event and the traffic situation was well managed and I have been to a *lot* of events over the years, here and elsewhere. The parking lot is quite large and while I was there, it was never at capacity (I walked).

The temple officials have adequately notified the city and immediate neighbors about the event (recurring in the same timeframe for decades) and this very website reported the festival earlier in the week.

As to the U-turns over double yellow lines, please refer to the California vehicle code (hint: they are legal in that location).

Web Link


MV Resident living just east of Moffett Blvd

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Posted by oldschgrl
a resident of North Whisman
on Jul 27, 2009 at 8:01 am

I remember the great hamburgers they used to sell, running into old friends, Andy tossing the game ball for the money booth and seeing the look on my dad's face when wrestler Kenji Shibuya made a special
visit. Great times back then, great times now - thank you Temple

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Posted by Grandma Effee
a resident of another community
on Jul 27, 2009 at 11:53 am

I am a member of the MV Buddhist Temple and it is rewarding to know how much our annual Obon Festival event is enjoyed by our community. It takes countless hours and tremendous effort to organize and operate this event each year. As I get older and the work becomes more exhausting, I sometimes wonder if all this is worth it. But we feel the Obon Festival is one way of expressing our gratitude for the support and kindness we receive from our community, and we'll work hard to keep up the tradition. I truly appreciate all the neighbors for their patience and understanding, and hope that someday Debbie will join in our festivities.

To tommygee - I don't recommend using the Safeway parking lot to attend our Obon Festival. We wouldn't want to inconvenience the shoppers. Thanks for your loyal support and see you again next year!

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Posted by Bernie Brightman
a resident of North Whisman
on Jul 27, 2009 at 2:18 pm

It's not cool at all to use the Safeway parking lot. I was trying to get some shopping done there and spaces were not easy to find. At peak times I wonder if it was even worse.

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Posted by Grandma Effee
a resident of another community
on Jul 27, 2009 at 11:48 pm

Bernie, I am very sorry for your trouble. How can we make it better for next year? We really do not want to cause any problems for our neighbors.

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Posted by NW Resident
a resident of North Whisman
on Jul 28, 2009 at 11:46 am

My family has also enjoyed this annual festival for the past 10 yrs or so and have never had any problems parking in the main lot. We usually come on Saturday and don't stay too late, just enough for some games and good food.

This year on Saturday it seemed that the crowd came earlier and lines for food were very long by 6:30pm, but the weather was pleasant. We've always enjoyed the announcements from the guys in the "control tower" and how the temple makes all families feel welcome at their event.

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