Annual CJAS/JANL Mochitsuki Set for Dec. 29

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SAN FRANCISCO — The 43rd annual Center for Japanese American Studies/Japanese American National Library Mochitsuki will be held on Saturday, Dec. 29, at Christ United Presbyterian Church, 1700 Sutter St. (at Laguna) in Japantown.

Ben Kobashigawa and his son Jun Dai pound the mochi as Hiroshi Shimizu prepares to turn the mochi. (Photo by Rita Takahashi)

The event will start at 11 a.m. and continue until the final mochi is formed around 3 p.m.  Volunteers are needed to help with preparations from 9 a.m. Mochigome (special rice used for mochi) is donated by George Okamoto of Nomura and Co.

As always, everyone is encouraged to participate in the pounding of the rice, shaping of the mochi cakes, and eating and socializing all afternoon. Participants can purchase the mochi to take home.

“We pound the old-fashioned way … Issei did it, Nisei did it, and Sansei do it,” event organizers said. “We want Yonsei and Gosei to continue the uniquely Japanese American cultural custom. Round up all your young generations of offspring and relatives. Once they see the mochitsuki, they will get hooked.”

The Japanese American National Library is carrying on a tradition established by the Center for Japanese American Studies in the late 1960s. The entire extended family is invited to this year-end festivity, which perpetuates a fun part of Nikkei heritage.

For more information, call Karl Matsushita at (415) 567-5006.

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