Monday, December 20, 2010

Mochi Tsuki Festival at Islandwood, Bainbridge Island, Washington State

I have attended this festival, put on by BIJAC at IslandWood School on Bainbridge Island, Washington, for successive years and its always been a fun event. Especially, bring the kids if you have any because they love it. This year it is on January 2, 2011.

The Taiko Drums by Seattle Kokon Taiko (video part 2) is incredible and worth waiting for and attending. Islandwood is an excellent facility on some of the most beautiful acreage on Bainbridge Island, just a 35 minute ride from downtown Seattle.

BIJAC EVENT - Mochi Tsuki

Islandwood Mochi video

The Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community (BIJAC) honors the heritage of the Issei (first–generation Japanese) who came to the United States, and particularly to Bainbridge Island, to make a new life for themselves and their children. We hope to promote a better understanding of the diversity of our nation by sharing their history, customs, and values. _TIM3862 - Masaru Shibayama, Age 2, Looks at Soldier's RifleBIJAC is dedicated to preserving and sharing an accurate historical record through oral histories and an outreach educational program.
For over a millennium, making and eating the sweet rice treat mochi has been a celebrated New Year’s tradition in Japan, with generations of families and communities coming together to wish good health and prosperity for the new year. Each year BIJAC brings this celebration to Bainbridge Island. We invite everyone, young and old, to bundle up against the crisp winter air, and enjoy the tradition of mochi tsuki (moe–chee sue–key), or "mochi–making."

Mochi–making involves a centuries old method of first steaming the sweet rice over an open fire, then placing the cooked rice into a warm stone or concrete bowl called an usu. Using large wooden mallets, two people rhythmically pound the rice in the usu while a third person uses his bare hands to swiftly move the rice between each mallet crash. After several minutes of vigorous pounding, the rice becomes a thick, smooth dough — mochi. While traditional pounding takes place outside, back in the kitchen modern mochi-making appliances are also running. Once cooked and pounded, people of all ages hand form the steaming–hot mochi into small cakes. Some are filled with a sweet bean paste called ahn. Guests can then eat their mochi warm and fresh, or bring them home to be later roasted and dipped in a sweetened soy sauce.>IslandWood has generously provided its beautiful, spacious grounds for this event, usually held from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM on the Sunday closest to New Year's Day. BIJAC's acclaimed Kodomo no Tame Ni–For the Sake of the Children–pictorial history is on display, as is the latest in news about the Nidoto Nai Yoni–Let It Not Happen Again–Memorial. Other activities include performances by Seattle Kokon Taiko, various films about our community, and guided tours of the award winning IslandWood, school in the woods, campus.

This event is free and donations for mochi are welcome.

The next Mochi Tsuki Celebration is scheduled for Sunday, January 2, 2011 from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM at IslandWood. There will be three short Taiko Drumming performances. Free tickets will be handed out on a first come, first served basis.

The Mochi Tsuki Festival celebrates the New Year with Japanese culture, performances by Seattle Kokon Taiko, various films and displays, and of course, mochi!

What    Community Event
When     Jan 02, 2011 from 11:00 AM to 03:00 PM
Where>IslandWood School, Bainbridge Island, Washington State USA
Contact Name    Gaye Lynn Galusha
Contact Phone     206-855-4307

Join them as they celebrate the New Year with the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community's 22nd Annual Mochi Tsuki Festival!

Dress for the winter weather and experience the tradition of mochi tsuki (moe–chee sue–key) or "mochi–making" first hand. Pound rice and make mochi cakes along with the mochi masters.

BIJAC's acclaimed Kodomo no Tame Ni - For the Sake of the Children - pictorial history is on display, as is the latest in news about the Nidoto Nai Yoni - Let It Not Happen Again - Memorial.

Enjoy performances by Seattle Kokon Taiko - free tickets available on a first-come basis - as well as various films about our community and guided tours of the IslandWood campus.

This event is free and no pre-registration is required. Although we all love animals, pets are not allowed at IslandWood (service dogs excepted).

YouTube Mochi videos

There are festivals like this in other places around the country. Search your area to see if you have one local enough to attend and if you do, I highly recommend going. One such example is, University of Michigan Center for Japanese Studies’ annual Mochitsuki festival. Another is in the Portland, Oregon area.

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