Photo gallery of 2nd Annual Japanese New Year’s Mochitsuki celebration

Odaiko Sonora taiko drummers welcoming in the New Year of the Sheep

Odaiko Sonora taiko drummers welcomed in the New Year of the Sheep

On January 10, 2015 the Southern Arizona Japanese Cultural Coalition (SAJCC) sponsored their 2nd Annual mochi pounding celebration for the new Year of the Sheep.  Here are photos of that lively event, held at the Rhythm Industry Performance Factory, home of Odaiko Sonora (taiko drummers), 1013 S. Tyndall Ave. All photos except for the last one taken by freelance photographer James Tokishi.

Tracy, Nicole and Karen from Odaiko Sonora pounding mochi

Tracy, Karen and Nicole from Odaiko Sonora pounding mochi

 

Odaiko Sonora taiko drummers performing

Odaiko Sonora taiko drummers performing as mochi is being pounded

Mochi pounding by boy and Heather Nagami (red hapi coat)

Mochi pounding by boy and Heather Nagami (red hapi coat)

 

Japanese girl trying to pound moch, with artist Yoshi Nakano helping

Japanese girl (and mother) trying to pound mochi, with artist Yoshi Nakano helping

Mochi is rice pounded and molded into shape (usually circular), then covered with delicious sauces.  The group pounded mochi, served samples, and had musical performances by Odaiko Sonora, Yuki Ibuki (singer from Kyoto, Japan), debut by new musical trio Okiraku – shakuhachi/koto/shamisen (Paul Amiel, Tomoni Katz, and Karen Falkenstrom), and Cosplay dance by Lani Villanueva. The UA Kyudo (Japanese archery) club also performed demonstrations.

Mochi being served, with Japanese green tea

Mochi being served, with Japanese green tea

Raffle prizes from local businesses  (Ikkyu restaurant, Kimpo Oriental Market, Mama’s Hawaiian BBQ, Tucson Originals) were awarded to lucky winners.  Additional in-kind assistance was provided by Bing’s Boba Tea and Ginja restaurant. Japanese paper folding of origami was taught, and various games were played: Ayatori, Fukuwarai , Go/Igo, Hanafuda (taught by me), Kendama. Artist/calligrapher Yoshi Nakano was selling his lovely Year of the Sheep notecards.

Blindfolded fukuwarai game, with Rome, Chi, myself, and Kenji

Blindfolded fukuwarai game, with Rome, Chi, myself, and Kenji (l-r)

Game of Go being taught by Jonathan Holtrup (in red hapi coat)

Game of Go being taught by Jonathan Holtrop (in red hapi coat)

 

Competitive game of hanafuda being played (Yours truly in blue hapi coat)

Competitive game of hanafuda being played (L -R: yours truly in blue hapi coat, Dallas, Karil, Paul, Audrey, Eugene)

Congratulations to all the hard working Mochitsuki committee members, especially to Event coordinator Heather Nagami, whose husband Bryan specially spent over 100 hours constructing the wooden usu (mortar) and kine (mallet) for this event.  See photo below. Thanks also to SAJCC Director Ross Iwamoto  for his vision in wanting us to work together, to continue this Japanese cultural tradition.  More at our website, www.southernazjapan.org (where I am the Editor).  300 people attended this celebration, with about 30 young children and 50 volunteers.

Usu made by Bryan  Barnes, courtesy of Heather Nagami

Usu & kine made by Bryan Barnes, courtesy of Heather Nagami

Happy New Year of the Sheep.

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