On Sunday, January 4, everyone is invited to celebrate the new year at Islandwood with the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community. Listen here as Lily Kodama tells BCB host Ellen Miyasato about the upcoming mochi tsuki (moe-chee sue-key) or mochi-making festival. Mochi, a sweet Japanese rice treat, is a New Year’s tradition in Japan.
Making mochi involves a centuries-old method of steaming sweet rice over an open fire, and placing it in a stone bowl called an usu. Using large wooden mallets, participants rhythmically pound the rice while another reaches in to turn the rice between mallet crashes. After several minutes of vigorous pounding, the rice becomes a thick, smooth dough. The hot dough is then hand-formed into small cakes, either plain or filled with a sweet bean paste. Guests can eat their mochi on the spot, or bring them home to be roasted and dipped in sweetened soy sauce.
At the mochi tsuki festival, participants can learn about the history of Bainbridge Island’s Japanese American community and hear the latest on the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial, a National Historic Site located at Pritchard Park. Free tickets will be distributed for stirring taiko drumming performances by Seattle Kokon Taiko prior to each of three performances. Participants can also tour the Islandwood trails. Due to limited parking, car pooling is encouraged.
Visit http://bijac.org/index.php?p=EVENTSMochiTsuki to learn more about this exciting annual event.
Credits: BCB host and studio tech: Ellen Miyasato; audio editor: Chris Walker; social media publisher Diane Walker.