Every summer, every temple in my parent's sect (jodo shinshu, an offshoot of Pure Land Buddhism, I personally do not identify with a sect) has a fundraising bazaar, with the bazaars staggered throughout the summer so members can support each-other's churches. The main attractions of these fundraisers are the food which is lovingly prepared by church members, catching up with people you haven't seen since last summer... and, of course, Bingo, the fundraising staple of all religious groups in the US.

The bazaar for my parents' temple was this weekend, so I spent the last two evenings gorging on sushi, udon (noodles), yaki soba (more noodles), chicken teriyaki, imagawayaki (photo, front left) and kuri manju (photo, front right). The last two items on this list are forms of Wagashi, a lightly sweet confection traditionally served with green tea. Wikipedia has a description and photos of wagashi, and Benkyodo has photos of the varieties of manju that they sell, if you are interested in learning more about it.

Tonight I attended with my father, and we played Bingo for a solid hour and a half. It was cash bingo all night, with an occasional "second chance," where play continued after the cash winner banked out and the consolation prize was a bag of groceries. No cash for me (and anyway, it would have gone to my dad, since he actually paid for my games), but my father and I both won a bag of consolation groceries at the same time. Those are my groceries behind the plates. Sorry about the messy counter and the bowl of compost in the background -- sometimes I'm a little lazy! I can use the rice oil and shoyu (soy sauce), and the ramen noodles and instant miso soup will go into the pile with the Costco ramen from 6 months ago for those days I'm too lazy to cook. And the flavored seaweed in the red-topped containers is good for snacking. The individually wrapped marshmallows, however...

The last time I bought marshmallows was a little after my housemate moved in. In the backyard, he set up a woodstove he had made from leftover welding yard parts and I wanted to make s'mores with it. We sat in the dark yard sipping beer and toasting marshmallows on skewers, had two s'mores each, and got sick from the sugar. A few marshmallows were sacrificed to the fire, just to watch them puff up and burn. The rest of the bag sat in the cupboard until the contents fused together and we tossed them. Given the rate at which marshmallows are consumed here, I think it would take more than ten years to finish these off. The scary thing is that since they are individually wrapped, they would probably last that long! I am debating tossing them now, or a few years from now when I happen upon them again.