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Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Taiko drumming and rice cakes launch the new year in.... Napa, California!

Japanese friendship club hosts festive potluck

 The Napa Tomodachi Club founder Greg Matsumoto, right, kneads the mochi dough as Nori Hongo pounds it to make the traditional New Year cake at the Napa Grange Hall on Saturday

The new year got off to a rousing start Saturday when the Napa Tomodachi Club hosted a traditional Japanese mochitsuki celebration at the Napa Grange Hall.
The annual potluck, attended by 100 people, began with explosive drumming and choreographed martial movements by taiko ensembles from Napa and Solano counties. Participants took turns with a wood mallet, pounding steamed rice into dough balls that became rice cakes known as mochi.
Some preferred their mochi plain, others with a sweet bean paste in the center.
For the New Year’s celebration, the club recruited volunteers to pound mochi the traditional way, rather than resorting to mochi-making machines. Everyone was promised there would be enough mochi to take home with them.
In Japan, the new year’s period is a major holiday, with people taking off from work for a solid week or more, said Gregory Matsumoto, who launched the Tomodachi Club in 1986.
Napa needed a social group for people interested in Japanese culture, Matsumoto said. Tomodachi means friendship.

Source: http://napavalleyregister.com