SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- The annual Obon Festival in San Jose's Japantown is once again coming together this weekend where the popular San Jose Taiko will be celebrating their 50th Anniversary.
Longtime volunteer Ken Kamei has been going to the festival since he was child.
"In those days, my parents farmed and so it was one of those highlights of summer where we all got together," Kamei said. He said in those days there would be a dance for young people at the San Jose Armory.
"They haven't done that for years and years, I'm really dating myself," Kamei said.
The San Jose Buddhist Church organizes the event.
Head Minister, Gerald Sakamoto says records show the first Obon was held at the same location on N. 5th Street in 1935.
"Aha yeah, it's pretty amazing that we have this wonderful gathering of people," Sakamoto said.
The term "Obon" comes from a Buddhist myth unique to Japanese history. A time to honor loved ones who have passed.
"Whether we believe in that returning in that kind of spirit or not the idea of again coming together of celebrating of joy and being mindful of the lives that have been a part of our lives, have influenced our lives and made our lives possible," Sakamoto said.
The two-day festival is for families and very much organized by families.
The young and old filled a room to prepare skewers. Outside, a family-run business is building a teriyaki grill.
"That's a second generation back there, he - taking that over from his father they build that brick fire pit of cinderblocks and firebricks," Kamei said.
Kamei said he loves the tradition of Obon - something his grandson is now a part of.
Sakamoto is expecting around 3,000 people at any given time during the festival.
It runs from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday and 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday.
"We just hope that people feel welcomed that they can be a part of something that's fun, be a part of something that hopefully brings community together that we can recognize in each other what we share and what we have in common as human beings. We value family, we value neighbors and community," Sakamoto said.
For more information on the event, visit here.
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