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!!!
The kids were REALLY talented!!! I was super impressed + the audience was loving their high energy!
Here they are bowing to the audience at the end of the performance. HAI!!!! DOMO ARIGATO!!!!
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!
It was kind of crazy + disorganized in the beginning + Mits looked like he was getting bombarded by children who couldn’t wait to SMASH something with a mallet!!!
Here’s a couple of Japanese ladies with funky hats. Japanese ladies go crazy for a funky, funkaaaaay hat!
Look closely at this next picture. This participant was going TO TOWN on the mochi with a baby strapped on her back! A BABY, homies!!! And she was DESTRRRRROYING that mochi!!! That’s how we roll.
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!!!!!
There were lots of Japanese snacks for sale.
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!!!!
We hungrily stood in a very long, slow moving line for some fresh mochi!!!
The ladies in the kitchen were receiving the freshly pounded mochi + molding them into little cakes.
Ojiichan (Japanese term of endearment for “grandpa”) was surveying things saying, “Nice work, ladies.”. Or at least that’s what I think he was saying!
This dapper Ojii-chan is his snappy fedora + aloha apron was working hard!!!!
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!
My mochi lunch was DELICIOUS!!!! Jeff + Neil got some little pieces of wood in their mochi from the mallets, which was pretty funny! Very authentic!!!
Once the crowds died down, I was able to get better pictures of the mochitsuki.
I liked the bucket full of the wooden mallets – they are serious!
Here’s a guy bringing a dolly loaded up with hot, cooked rice for more mochi making! More! More!!!!
Now I know why they had the audience participating in pounding the mochi! Labor for more mochi! Smaaaaart. Verrrry crafty.
Here I am posing with a RCMP (that’s Royal Canadian Mounted Police, you yankees!) officer in attendance.
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!!!!!!!
Nikkei Obaachans (Japanese term of endearment for “grandma”) lively + super involved in their community!
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!!!!!
I am so glad that you connected to the Nikkei Center in Vancouver. I am so proud of you doing that. The flesh Mochi tastes the best and can’t compare with store bought one. You ate it with the best way.
I know you and Jeff will have a greatest 2013 and I wish you a Happy New Year.
Fresh mochi IS the best!!! Thanks mom for always teaching us the importance of Japanese traditions!!! You would have loved the Nikkei Place mochitsuki!!!
Mochi diasuki! This post is making miss Japan. Natsukashii. The Vancouver event looks like a great down-home event – even if it didn’t have those twirling mallets of the glitzy LA mochitsuki!
Honto desu ne!!! True – it was an amazing event! The Nikkei Place is really keeping Japanese culture alive!!!! I miss Japan too!!!!
Yike’s, didn’t realize Hong’couver had a strong contingent
of nipponese denizen’s, now Mum’sie say’s she could easily
live near U,…brrrrrrh, not me,..LOL !!!!! Ok, Nan & Jeff, have
a fab righteous Happi Happi New Years,…”2013”, Mahalo !!!!!
There are WAY more Japanese living in Vancouver than I thought! I really love learning about Japanese Canadian history!
do not mess with asian mommy rage!
happy new year my OG festival buddy!
Happy New Year old chum!!!! We used to roll the festival circuit like formula 1!!!!!