Bainbridge Island’s Mochi Tsuki tradition bids good fortune to all
Mochi Tsuki involves making rice cakes and sharing them with neighbors, wishing peace and prosperity in the new year.
Seattle Times staff
Join in a centuries-old Japanese tradition with mochi making and other activities Sunday on Bainbridge Island.
The 24th annual Mochi Tsuki event at IslandWood, hosted by BIJAC (Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community), is one of the nation’s largest public celebrations of its kind, a tradition to wish everyone peace, good health and prosperity in the coming year.
The core activity is making and eating sweet mochi — rice steamed over an open fire, pounded to a thick dough and made into small cakes. It’s done in a rhythmic ritual of two people vigorously pounding the cooked rice with large wooden mallets while a third person swiftly moves the rice into place between each pound until it’s a thick, smooth dough.
People of all ages help form the dough by hand into small cakes cooked and served plain or filled with sweet bean paste. Guests can eat mochi warm and fresh or take a bag home for their own culinary creations.
Seattle drum group Kokon Taiko will perform three times during the day, with free tickets available for limited seating 20 minutes before each performance. The exhibit “Kodomo no Tameni — For the Sake of the Children” is on display, along with models and renderings of the Bainbridge Island Japanese-American Exclusion Memorial “Nidoto Nai Yoni; Let It Not Happen Again.” The full-size memorial, to remember the island’s Nikkei families who were the first Japanese-Americans in the U.S. forcibly removed from their homes under Executive Order 9066 in 1942, is permanently located at Pritchard Park, 4192 Eagle Harbor Drive, Bainbridge Island.
Guided tours of the IslandWood campus, a 255-acre outdoor learning center, are available throughout the day.
Time: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday.
Cost: Free; donations for mochi welcome.
Location: IslandWood, 4450 Blakely Ave. N.E., Bainbridge Island.
More information: www.bijac.org
Madeline McKenzie: email@example.com