Chicago Shimpo
Natsumatsuri in the Buddhist Temple of Chicago

• The Buddhist Temple of Chicago’s annual summer festival “Natsumatsuri” was held on June 23, and a nostalgic atmosphere welcomed the visitors.

• Outside the temple, a huge grill was set up in the parking of the temple, and volunteers grilled so many pieces of teriyaki chicken. They were sold out in the afternoon.

• Inside the temple, packs of chirashi sushi, inari sushi, bowls of udon noodles, and baked goods were also sold.
• On the stage, Japanese taiko drumming by Kokyo Taiko, iaido by BTC Iaido Dojo, kyudo by Fuko Kyudojo, aikido by BTC Aiki Budo Center, and Bon dance by BTC members were demonstrated.

• Antiques and collectibles such as samurai swords were exhibited, and handmade accessories, crafts, a variety of wrist juzu, koi arts, and T-shirts were sold.

Young Volunteers

• Cory Matsumoto was selling unique T-shirts. If you choose a uniyo-e from his picture books and ordered a T-shirt, he prints it on the T-shirt in 30 minutes. “The T-shirts are washable, and the prints are durable pretty much,” he said.
• Matsumoto explained about how he developed this idea. When he was in college, he made some shirts for his uncle and friends by using Japanese art images, which were created by his uncle. Then his friends began to tell him, “You should sell them.” He said that his father also makes greeting cards, so his family seems to have art talents.
• Matsumoto just graduated from college and is going to attend graduate school with a chemistry related major, not an art major, but he said that he was going bring art related Banzai Project with his friends, and its website would be ready soon.

• Jill Saiki returned from Boston with her fiancé to do volunteer work at the temple. “My grandparents all helped out here. My mom is also here.”
• Asked by the Chicago Shimpo if she were Yonsei (fourth generation of Japanese American), Saiki said, “I’m fourth generation??? I don’t know exactly…” It seems that “Nisei” or “Sansei” like JA expressions are fading away among young generations, but her mind is still with the temple. “Since I was small, I’ve been always coming here. It’s like my home,” she said. She added, “We are moving back soon.”

Interview with Yasuo Ito of Fuko Kyudojo

• Yasuo It demonstrated kyudo, Japanese art of archery. He also does iaido, but limits his demonstration to kyudo at the Buddhist temple.
• Ito has practiced kyudo for 15 years and said, “Training your spirit is more difficult than hitting a target.”
• He said, “The way of kyudo practice is not competing against your opponents, how many times you hit the target, but is mental stability. If you have a right mind and do what you should do, your arrow naturally hit a target. It’s the way of kyudo,”
• However, when you demonstrate it in front of audience, you tend to be swayed, and your mind is different from your everyday practice. Ito said, “Spiritual practice is having a right mind, eliminating evil thoughts, and being as you are. But too much thinking would disturb you. You calm down and do your practice as usual. Demonstration in the temple is a very good practice. You can try to keep your mind the same as you practice every day. It’s a way of kyudo.”


Exhibitors of Natsumatsuri in the Buddhist Temple of Chicago


Cory Matsumoto (L) and his friends at his creative T-shirt both


Jill Saiki (L) and her fiancé


Bon odori dancing demonstration at the Natsumatsuri stage