Every year, on the Sunday closest to the New Year, Bainbridge sees what is now the largest Mochi Tsuki celebration in the United States.
Roughly 1,100 people showed up at IslandWood for the 24th anniversary Mochi Tsuki (moe-chee sue-key) on Jan. 6, hosted by the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community to herald in the New Year by making the traditional Japanese treat. Islanders could take turns pounding the mass of steamed rice in a mortar called an “usu.”
After undergoing stages of separation, the mochi then can be filled with a sweet bean paste called “ahn” and is hand rolled into small cakes, ready to be enjoyed.
The event also saw performances by the Seattle taiko drum group Kokon Taiko, and on display were the BIJAC’s Kodomo no Tame Ni (“For the Sake of the Children”) exhibit and information on the Nidoto Nai Yoni (“Let it Not Happen Again”) memorial at Pritchard Park.