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On January 13th, several Kenjin-kai organizations and Nikkei community groups gathered at the NVC Memorial Hall for an exciting Mochi Tsuki event. Christina Swadener from the Seattle-Tacoma Fukuoka Kenjin-kai led the mochi making which included over 40 invited attendees and 150 volunteers from different Kenjin-dkai communities.

Several teams in assembly-like lines prepared the delicious mochi cakes as well as a special ozone — Hiroshima style with oysters. The volunteers used electric mochi machines which cradled, rocked, and sculpted the masses of rice to prepare them for being cut up into mochi cakes. Viewing this, I was reminded of a potter’s wheel creating its artful result.

Of course, many invitees and volunteers made mochi the old-fashioned way.  Teams of three using large wooden mallets (kine) pounded steamed mochi rice as it lay in a large heavy stone mortar (usu).

There was a good feeling of community in the air. And Lefty’s Room was packed with busy people carrying out this old-time New Year’s tradition.