New Year 2009

newyear2008_01明けましておめでとうございます (Akemashite Omedetou Gozaimasu). I wanted to extend my warm wishes for everyone to have a great upcoming year.

Today my family and I went to the courthouse at Boulder Colorado for the new years Japanesenewyear2008_03 Mochi-Tsuki ceremony. This happens each year as people gather to watch and participate in making mochi cakes. To make these mochi cakes (or buns) a sweet rice is mixed and put in a large semi-hollowed out mortar (usu).

Once the wet sweet rice is placed within the log one person wets and folds the rice. As the folder brings his hands away from the log to re-wet them a person with a large mallet (kine) newyear2008_02pounds the rice. This process is continued over and over. Each time the rice becomes stickier and eventually becomes very sticky and can be put into a small cake or bun.

During the new years day ceremony the people in the crowd get to take turns being the person pounding the rice with the heavy mallet. It is very interesting watching different people try to newyear2008_05pound the rice with different techniques and enthusiasm.

While this is going on a local taiko group were playing the Japanese drums and putting on a nice performance for the crowd. This added atmosphere and rounded out the day. It was nice meeting friends and other Aikido instructors and students. Thanks to everyone who showed up and shared the day.


Comments (5)

Kara StewartJanuary 4th, 2009 at 10:19 am

This was a great way to start the year! Thanks for the opportunity to attend.

Nice people in the crowd, visiting with Senseis and fellow students from Aikikai Tanshinjuku and Castle Rock Aikido, being out on a brisk winter day, it was a lot of fun.

Here’s to a great year ahead! It’s gonna be grand.

John PriceJanuary 8th, 2009 at 1:31 pm

Thank you Sensei for letting us know about this event – an enjoyable way to see in the new year. Spending time with family and friends, getting to know a little more about Senseis Izawa and Albright, watching Cyrus having fun. Enjoying the brisk air and sunshine. What could be better ?

It was fun to watch how people handled the mallet. And the cheering they got from their fellow “rice mashers”. Next year I’m not shying away from pounding the mochi so the gent folding and wetting the rice better watch his head !


AndrewJanuary 10th, 2009 at 11:14 pm

Next year its your turn John-san 🙂

John SeavittFebruary 5th, 2009 at 2:33 pm

John –
John Price

Sorry to hijack the thread; I’ve lost your email. Happy year of the Ox to all. Thought you might enjoy eel sauce. John Seavitt

Tsumé, or with sake, kabayaki no tare:

From an old-established unagi shop in Mikawa, Aichi prefecture.
1.8 liters soy sauce
1.8 liters mirin
2 kg rock sugar
Simmer soy sauce on very low heat for 2 hours, while skimming foam.
In another pot, boil mirin to evaporate alcohol.
Combine them, add rock sugar, let stand to cool.


350 cc dark soy sauce
300 cc mirin
250 g sugar
100 cc sake
Eel head and bone, if available

Combine mirin and sake and boil on high heat to evaporate alcohol.
(Grill head and bone well and add them in this step). Add sugar. Add dark soy sauce and bring to a boil again.
Simmer on very low heat for 15 to 20 min. Skim foam, filter, and cool as quickly as possible.

AndrewFebruary 5th, 2009 at 3:13 pm

Thanks for the recipe, and happy new year to you too.

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