Nikkei Centre Mochitsuki 2012!!!
KONICHIWA!!!!!!! I love me a good mochitsuki ceremony!!! Being of Japanese heritage, the mochi making ceremony that is traditionally held around the New Year is a special event for me.
So when I heard about the Mochitsuki Day 2012 at the Nikkei Centre (Vancouver’s largest Japanese cultural center) I was like, “Yo! Bring it on!!!!”! Mochi is cooked rice that is pounded into a glutinous, cake-like form. Sounds weird, but I guarantee y’all, it is tasty vittles.
Jeff + I drove down to the centre with cousin Neil, who had lived in Japan for 3 years. When we arrived, the centre was BUZZING with peeps + an amazing performance by Canada’s first children’s taiko (Japanese drum) group, Chibi Taiko!!!!
“Chibi” is Japanese slang for small kid. The performance hall was packed, packed, packed!!!
Right after the taiko performance, was the pounding of the mochi – which was held offstage on the performance hall floor. Members of the Vancouver Japanese Gardeners Association gave the festivities a jump start.
It was really crowded + hard to see what was going on unless you had front row seats. I really hate my camera + zooming in was not working for me. I would have liked it if the mochitsuki was also held onstage as well.
The master of ceremonies was Nikkei Centre’s board member, Mits Hayashi who I found out through my super sleuthing, is recently the recipient of the Order of the Rising Sun by the Japanese Government for his contribution to the social welfare of the Nikkei (term used for people of Japanese immigrants + their descendents) Community in Canada – amazing! What an honor!
The cool thing about the Nikkei Centre mochitsuki was the fact that the attendants could obtain a ticket with a number. When your number is called, you get a turn at pounding the mochi! They had a kids’ mini mochitsuki station as well!!! So cute!
To be completely honest, Jeff + I were slightly disenchanted with the Nikkei Centre mochitsuki. That’s because we are a couple of big ol’ jerky snobs. I had lived in Los Angeles’s Little Tokyo for six years + the mochitsuki ceremony is like “hooray for Hollywood” style!!!! Here’s Jeff’s video of the Little Tokyo mochistuki earlier this year!
Now THAT’S entertainment!!!! We expected the same fanfare at the Nikkei Centre (which we shouldn’t have) – but we always forget, Vancouver ain’t Hollywood, y’all!!!! Jazz hands!!!!!
I bought some frozen mochi to make Ozoni (traditional Japanese New Year soup with mochi) for my first New Years Day in Vancouver! My mom makes it every year on New Year’s day + now I can’t wait to carry on this special family tradition!!!!
When we had our fresh mochi in our hot little hands, we moved to the lobby where they had tables set up with accoutrements like sliced green onion, soy sauce, daikon + ginger. Or if you prefer sweet – there was sugar on the table as well!
Now I know why they had the audience participating in pounding the mochi! Labor for more mochi! Smaaaaart. Verrrry crafty.
Hmmmmm……..looks like someone’s had one too many mochi cakes lately!!!! Canada’s cold weather really sold me on comfort food!!!! It’s gotten too loco out of hand. Time to reign it in, 2013!!!!!!!
It was great to see such an amazing turnout for the Nikkei Centre Mochitsuki Day! Being new to Vancouver, I’m really thrilled to see how strong the Japanese Canadian community is + how determined they are to keep traditions alive! Well, done Nikkei Centre! Thank you for being a beacon of Japanese education + cultural preservation in Vancouver!!!!!