Friday & Saturday (July 29 & 30), 7pm service/8pm dance, Wailuku Hongwanji Misson; free
Planets in orbit. Ripples in water. Bon dancing. Proof positive that concentric circles are the coolest. If you’ve never participated in a bon dance, fret not–there’s no need to bone-up with dance step diagrams. Simply squeeze yourself into the rings around the yagura (i.e. the towering bandstand centerpiece), keep your eyes locked on da kimono-clad aunties, and follow along. Oh, and remember to grab a tenugui (towel) at the entrance–not only as a sweet festival memento–but so you can twirl it in time during songs like “Yagi Bushi.” If you’re like me, you’ll (finally) find your rhythm right around the time each song ends. But, you’ll have a blast and get a belly full of laughs (at yourself). Speaking of full bellies, the whole obon shebang stems from the story of Mokuren the monk and his passed-on mom–who was relegated to The Realm of Hungry Ghosts; hence ono obon offerings at altars and in graveyards. Naturally, every festival features mean kine grinds for the living, too. These seasonal festivals are almost at their end, so (in addition to this weekend in Wailuku) here’s a list of your remaining chances to get out your getas and hop into your happi coats: (Saturday) Aug. 6, 6:30/7:30pm, Kula Shingon Mission; (Friday & Saturday) Aug. 12 & 13, 6/7pm, Lahaina Hongwanji Mission; (Saturday) Aug. 20, 6/7pm, Paia Rinzai Zen Mission.