Friends of ours have a daughter getting ready to leave for college soon and they sponsored a concert by three well-known local musicians to raise money for her tuition. It was held at another friend's house that's perfect for a concert: a shaded lanai for the musicians and their equipment just in case it starts to rain, and a large grassy area where all of us can sit. It was a pot luck with all of us bringing local favorites such as poke and Korean barbecued chicken. The musicians played three hours straight without a break, playing popular local songs as well as many of their own compositions. It was a magic night, one of many we've had like this in Hawaii.
Last Friday I went to Soto Mission in the morning to take some photos after everything had been set up for the Bon Dance that would start that night and before the crowds made it hard to move around. I also stopped at another Buddhist temple on the way and took some photos there as well.
I'd heard that St. Peter's had jazz vespers every Thursday night but I'd never gone until this past Thursday. I had a friend who was an English prof at the University of Hawaii who had retired last year and moved to North Carolina. He was back for a visit and asked if I'd be interested in going and I said yes. The jazz ensemble that plays each week is made up of a singer, a saxophonist, a bassist, and a pianist. You can find out more about the group on the following: http://www.stpetershonolulu.org/jazz-at-st-peters-thursday-evening-service.html
I was surprised by how good the group was and especially how good the singer was. Between sets there were Bible readings, prayers and a very short homily. Afterward, we shared a meal of homemade soup (three kinds and all good), artisanal bread and salad.
Last Friday I went to two Bon Dances, the first at Jodo Mission and the second at Soto Mission, both in Honolulu and about a ten minute drive from each other. On the way I ran into some other photo opportunities that I'm including here. I'll include the Soto Mission photos in the next blog.
I happened to be driving down Nuuanu Ave. in Honolulu yesterday when I noticed that Hsu Yun, a Chinese Buddhist temple, was decorated in ways I hadn't seen before. I decided to park the car and see what was going on. It turned out that two marble statues at the foot of the temple had just arrived from China and were being dedicated that morning. Unfortunately I didn't have my Fuji camera with me, just my Canon S120, but I enjoyed taking photos and exploring the grounds.
For a few years our family enjoyed going to Waikiki once a month or so for movies on the beach. I'm not sure why, but they stopped showing movies many years ago. They kept the frame for the screen on the beach but it was only used by people exercising or doing yoga. This summer they started showing movies again and yesterday my wife and I went to see "Coco."
I like to go to Waikiki on Wednesday mornings and walk around. Yesterday there was an unusual quality to the light early in the morning, maybe because of the strange cloud patterns we were experiencing from Hurricane Flossie passing north of the islands. I even saw a full rainbow on the horizon, something I haven't seen in 27 years.
Last Saturday I went to the Byodo-In Temple for their annual odon festival. Byodo-In is a replica of an ancient temple outside of Kyoto and is part of a large cemetery in the Valley of the Temples in Kaneohe. I first went to their odon three years ago and had a great time taking photos. Last year it was raining, as it often does near the mountains in Kaneohe so I didn't even go. This year the weather was a little cloudy but it didn't rain, nice weather for photography. I started with the Bon Dance in the parking lot that was lead by two different groups. When I got tired of photographing the Bon Dance, I'd go to the Temple and photograph and then go back to the Bon Dance. After the sun set, a huge crowd gathered around the koi pond in front of the Temple and watched the Lantern Floating Ceremony. People had been writing expressions of love and prayers for beloved relatives and these were attached to wooden lanterns. Over 1,000 were released into the water.
My favorite local bon dance is at Koganji Temple in Manoa. Three years ago, just a few months after moving to Manoa, I noticed the sign on Oahu Ave. announcing that the dance was coming in a few weeks. I'd heard of bon dancing but had never attended one until that night three years ago. As I walked the half block to the entrance, I noticed that cars were everywhere and a large crowd was walking toward the temple. When I walked up to the railing overlooking the bon dance, I was stunned by the lights of the Japanese lanterns, the smell of meat grilling, the sounds of drums and singing, and the sight of hundreds of people dancing. I ran all the way back home to get my camera and told my family to get ready and come back with me. My son-in-law was ready to go to bed and decided to come over in his pajamas. No one seemed to notice. I've enjoyed the bon dance at Koganji Temple every year since then and have loved taking pictures there.
Last Friday night I went to the reception for the PNM Foundation's exhibition: Contemporary Photography in Hawaii 2019. It was a strong show and I enjoyed seeing what other photographers had produced. I stayed a little while and then went to the bon dance at Koganji Temple in Manoa.