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January 5, 2014 at 6:53 PM

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Mochi tsuki tradition ushers in new year on Bainbridge


LINDSEY WASSON / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Shoichi Sugiyama advises volunteers as they pound away at mochi at the 25th annual mochi tsuki event. Making and eating mochi, a sweet rice treat, is a Japanese new year tradition. The sweet rice is pounded by wooden mallets until it becomes mochi -- a thick dough.

LINDSEY WASSON / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Finished mochi lie on racks to be packaged at the beginning of the mochi tsuki event Sunday at Bainbridge Island's Islandwood School.

LINDSEY WASSON / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Rice steams in wooden boxes over an open fire at left, while more water heats up at right. The mochi tsuki event was once a private social celebration and has become one of Bainbridge's biggest events, with more than 1,100 attending Sunday.

For more photos, visit the gallery.

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