Bon Dancing Festival at Mitsuwa in Arlington Heights
• The sound of taiko drums, the aroma of food, and the thrill of games drew thousands of people to Mitsuwa Bon Odori Summer Festival in Arlington Heights on August 3.
• This year, yakisoba, takoyaki, cool ramen noodle, curry and rice, corn dogs, spam musubi, and more food attracted the visitors. On a hot summer day, a long line was formed in front of the shaved ice booth.
• The visitors were entertained by the performances of Tsukasa Taiko, Okinawa Kenjinkai, Shidokan Karate, and more. Many fun games, such as ramune drinking competition and corn peeling race, were held at the center stage, and the challengers and the visitors squealed together for joy.
• An awaited event of Bon Dancing started at around 7 p.m., and many yukata (summer kimono)-clad visitors made circles around the festival tower and danced. The members of Wakayagi Shiyukai demonstrated the dance, and the visitors followed them.
People in the Festival
• Beautiful yukata-clad Christina Wolf and Valena McKel
were enjoying the festival with their friend Yuki Cheng. They have worked
in a Japanese company near Mitsuwa where they often have a lunch together.
• McKel visited her friend in Gunma Prefecture, then worked there in a local international bank for 13 years. It was a surprise for her to know that Wolf was also living in Gunma. The three girls have worked closely in the company and became good friends.
• A group of men were wearing black T-shirts with anime
flavors. Jeff said, “I’m from Indiana, and this is my first time experiencing
Bon Festival. We are friends and just here to celebrate the festival.”
• She said, “I come here every year. I like to observe
the tradition, the food, and activities which are interesting to me.”
• Shimpo asked her if she had influenced her husband’s
group, Gina said, “Not really. They are enjoying popular culture, anime
• Mitsuwa in Arlington Heights completed its comprehensive
renovation last June, the first major renovation since its opening in
the early 1990s.
• According to a release from Mitsuwa Corporation, which
runs 11 stores across the U.S., Mitsuwa wants to continue to be an oasis
of Japanese culture and cuisine for its customers through their shopping
and dining experience.
from left: Christina Wolf, Yuki Cheng and Valena McKel
from left: Michael, Mattino, Zack, Gina and Jeff