Japan Society of Fairfield County
elected president of The Japan Society of Fairfield County, opened
Oshogatsu 2008. This marks the 20th year of operation for the
Japan Society of Fairfield County. Shinji Urabayashi, Deputy
Director of the Japan
Center at the Consulate General of Japan in New York, gave our keynote
address. We were also joined by Yuko Suzuki, Vice Consul General
of Japan in New York.
Vernon Beck, past president and currently vice president, was presented
with a plaque honoring his 2 years service as president of JSFC.
Vernon then led us in a champagne toast to the new
year, the year of the mouse
and the twentieth year of Heisei. Our membership chair, Joyce
Shinomiya, led us in a group introduction to introduce new
members. We then enjoyed a fabulous
meal prepared by Hiroyuki "James"
his staff at the
Restaurant. Our meal was patterned after the traditional
Osechi-Ryori enjoyed at New Year's celebrations and included many foods
with symbolic significance.
Table gifts were provided by Shuichi Tanaka, Chairman & CEO,
Shiseido International, Inc., New York, New York.
JSFC Director Kaori O'Brien introduced our
We enjoyed two classical dance presentations, both courtesy of our
advisory board member Kyoko Ohnishi. Her student, Yuika Abe,
performed Sakura Sakura (Cherry Blossom). Ohnishi-sensei
performed Megumi no Tsuyu (Blessing Dew) under her stage name
A Shamisen performance by the group Kicho-Kai (Happy Butterfly) was
next. Ms. Yoko Arimura, Ms.
Kumiko Martin, Ms. Tomoko Takagi and Kyoko Ohnishi's shamisen
performance was delightful. They played the pieces Matsu no Midori,
Naoki Achiwa lead us in a group
traditional New Year's songs: Hamabe no Ute (Song of Beach),
Aoi Sanmyaku (Blue Mountain Range), and Old Folks at Home ,
the Stephen Foster classic.
We ended our event by making mochitsuki led by Seiichi
Shinomiya. Mochi balls are
traditionally made for the new year from sweet rice pounded into a
smooth paste. The pounding is done in an usu (mortar) using
(mallets). Our usu was made from the trunk of a tree and
loaned to us by the Greenwich Japanese School. The steamed rice grains
are pounded with a mallet to develop the proper consistency.
Our rice had to go back to the kitchen for additional steaming to
sufficiently soften all the grains of rice. Koito Karlon again had the
somewhat hazardous job of turning the mochi
kine strokes. After pounding, the rice paste is squeezed
into small balls. In order to prevent the rice paste from
sticking to the hands of the persons working, it is sprinkled with mochiko
Anko (bean paste), prepared by Atsuko
Giampaoli, can be rolled into the center of the mochi ball, but ours
were served with the anko on the side. Plain balls were
also served after being rolled in kinako , which is a
mixture of sugar and ground soy bean prepared by Junko Uezumi and
Reiko Kawashima. Mochi is best when
and thanks to the help from the wives of the Greenwich Japanese School,
we were able to enjoy our own freshly pounded mochi this
Photos courtesy Syd Greenberg, Amy Mortensen, and Ruairi McLaughlin.
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