Say good-bye to 2021 and welcome 2022 with hope for prosperity, fortune and good health. While we again cannot gather together in person this year, there has never been a more important year to draw strength from mochi! Celebrate Virtual Mochi Tsuki, Jan 8-31, 2022.
Akemashite Omedetou, Happy New Year!
Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community (BIJAC) brings this annual celebration to the Island. Mochi tsuki (moe–chee sue–key), or pounding rice to make mochi (rice cakes) is an important traditional event. For over a millennium, making and eating the sweet rice treat “mochi” has been a New Year’s tradition in Japan, with generations of families and communities coming together to wish good health and prosperity for the new year. At the BIJAC Mochi tsuki event, you’ll get an up-close look as upwards of 200 pounds of rice are steamed in batches over an open fire. Then, try your hand at pounding the rice under the watchful eye of master mochi-maker Shoichi Sugiyama. Children and adults can try their hand at forming the mochi cakes that are then eaten plain, filled with red bean paste, or dipped in soy sauce and sugar. Everyone is invited, 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.” More info: https://bijac.org/events-calendar/
Traditional Mochi making
Mochi-making involves a centuries old method of first steaming short-grain glutinous rice (aka sticky rice or sweet rice). The cooked rice is then placed in a warm stone or concrete bowl called an usu. Using large wooden mallets, people pound the rice until it becomes a thick, smooth dough. Now it is mochi. Once cooked and pounded, the still hot mochi is formed into small cakes.