Getting your bon dance on

Getting your bon dance on

Summer, to me, means a few things.

Longer days spent at the beach, less traffic on the highway during rush hours, and the annual bon dances at temples around the state.

This annual Japanese Buddhist tradition — held between June and August — honors the spirits of family members who have passed away. According to tradition, it is believed the summer months are when ancestral spirits return to visit family and friends.

But that’s not why I go.

Like most local folks, I hit bon dances for the food. Teri beef skewers, cone sushi, fried noodles, andagi, saimin, grilled corn — this is easily my favorite part of any bon dance.

Truth be told, I’ve been going to bon dances since I was a kid, learning how to properly dance from my mom, who taught us odori for obon favorites like “Tanko Bushi” in our living room.

And since I grew up in Kalihi, we would often attend the lively bon dance at the Okinawan Jikoen Hongwanji Mission on the corner of Likelike Highway and School Street. It’s one of those bon dances where live musicians still play in the yagura (high wooden scaffold around which the dancers circle). No taped music here!

I go back to Jikoen every July — its bon dance is held this weekend — as part of my own summer tradition. My mom may not be there, but I take her moves with me. And her appetite.

Like mother, like daughter.

It's bon dance time!

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One of my favorite things to do in the summer months in Hawaii is hit a bon dance at a Japanese temple. It's more than just a cultural experience; it's got great food, too.

This weekend’s bon dance schedule:

Jikeon Hongwanji Mission, 6 p.m., (808) 845-3422
Wahiawa Ryusenji Soto Mission, 7:30 p.m., (808) 622-1429
Haleiwa Jodo Mission, 8 p.m., (808) 637-4382

For a complete list of bon dances this summer, visit Let’s Bon Dance.

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Today’s happy shot

A favorite summer festivity: annual bon dances, this one at Jikoen Hongwanji Mission in Kalihi.

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FUUD: Meg’s Drive-In in Kalihi

FUUD: Meg’s Drive-In in Kalihi

I grew up in Kalihi and for years have driven past the large red-and-white sign that reads, “Megs Drive-In” (@megsdrivein).

And surprisingly, I never stopped by.

But back in April, Melissa Chang (@melissa808) of Nonstop Honolulu dropped by the old-fashioned drive-in that’s been serving plate lunches since 1967.

So when friends of mine wanted to check out the breakfast there — namely, the pancakes — it didn’t take much for me to agree to tag along.

Here’s what our recent breakfast — which turned into an impromptu tweetup, then lunch — looked like:

Meg's Drive-In

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Open in 1967, Meg's Drive-In is an institution in Kalihi, where I grew up. And it hasn't changed much since then, either.

Meg’s Drive-In, 743 Waiakamilo Rd. Hours: 5:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, 5:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Saturday, closed Sunday. Phone: (808) 845-3943

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Today’s happy shot

The only way I’ll eat green beans, courtesy of Kuru Kuru Sushi

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Waterbeds, where are you now?

Waterbeds, where are you now?

The other day I came across an odd news story about an exotic-animal keeper from Ohio who was found dead last week in an apparent accident during sexual role-play.

The 49-year-old man, Sam Mazzola, was found face down in his waterbed, tied with bondage restraints and had obstructions over his nose and mouth.

It wasn’t the way he had died that gave me pause.

It was where.

A waterbed.

People still have those?

I never saw the appeal of waterbeds. I remember my cousins had waterbeds in their home in Mililani. Even back then I thought they were odd. This coming from someone — me — who grew up sleeping on futons instead of beds. I was convinced I’d get seasick trying to sleep on one of those things.

So what ever happened to waterbeds? Do people still use them?

I found an article in TIME dated July 1987 — exactly 24 years ago — that declared, “Oh, Wow, Water Beds Are Back!”

The article reported that the $2 billion waterbed industry — up from $13 million in 1971 — was the fastest-growing segment of the bedding market, accounting for 21 percent of all mattress sales. Back then, beds ranged between $100 and $600, with nearly three-quarters of the buyers older than 30. Many of them chose waterbeds over other kinds of mattresses because of health issues including back pain, arthritis and insomnia.

So where are they now? Anyone know?

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