The United Japanese Society of Hawaii held its an- nual “Tsukimi no Kai,” or moon-viewing celebration, on Oct. 25 on the Great Lawn of the Bishop Museum. This year’s event, co-chaired by UJSH members Frances Nakachi Kuba and Cyrus Tamashiro, was open to the general public and included food booths and food trucks with a good selection to purchase and enjoy. Guests could also enjoy the entertainment on the main stage or walk around and enjoy various activities being held under tents set up on the lawn.
Bishop Daiya Amano of Izumo Taishakyo Mission of Hawaii performed a traditional Shintö tamagushi ceremony before an altar flowing with offerings of food for the gods and white streamers. Under the light of the full moon, Bishop Amano waved his haraegushi purification wand as guests contemplated their connection to the gods and expressed gratitude for their good health and many blessings.
The ceremony was followed by a number of cultural performances: Somei Taiko, a duet with Darin Miyashiro on koto and Neal Shiosaki on shakuhachi (flute) and beautiful singing by Rev. Takamasa Yamamura of the Honolulu Myohoji Mission.
Guests were also invited to enjoy sake provided by Cherry Company, write a haiku, make crafts or view a tea ceremony. Additionally, Bishop Museum galleries were open for viewing as part of the Tsukimi no Kai admission ticket — many took advantage of the opportunity to view the exhibit, “Gannenmono: A Legacy of Eight Generations in Hawai‘i” in the Picture Gallery of the Hawaiian Hall complex.
The roots of Tsukimi no Kai date back to the Nara and Heian periods (710-1185) when China introduced the custom to Japan.
Kaoru Nakamura-Sensei taught the attendees how to write a haiku poem. Her tips for writing haiku included: sharpen your five senses rather than relying on intellectual knowledge; seize a particular moment using common daily language; and draft, and redraft, refining your poem until you feel it is complete. Attendees could compose and enter the haiku contest. Nakamura-Sensei presented prize baskets to the best poems of the night.
The Iwakuni Odori Aiko Kai dance group brought the evening to a close by leading the guests in two upbeat bon dance numbers.
Everyone parted with hugs and goodbyes. Although the festivities were over, the moon continued to shine upon everyone as they returned home.