Japan Society of Fairfield County
Japan Society of Fairfield County welcomed 2009, the Year of the Bull,
with a traditional Oshogatsu Festival. Newly elected JSFC
Director Diane Caminis served as our Master of Ceremonies and
introduced JSFC president Harry Sakamaki.
Mr. Akira Sugiyama,
Director, Japan Information Center, Consulate General of Japan, opened
the ceremonies with encouragement that the Bull is a sign of prosperity.
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.
Long time Japan Society member and
Ohnishi, has been
granted the name Fujima Konishiki by Soke Fujima School where she is a
licensed instructor. She performed a classical Japanese dance performed
called Kotobuki, a congratulatory dance to wish everyone a
healthy life and good fortune. Kyoko also led a kimono mini
fashion show of our kimono clad members.
Naoki Achiwa lead us in a group
traditional New Year's songs.
Steve Scholle talked about the history and making of
Shakuhachi, a bamboo flute, and played a short folk tune followed by a
piece called Ajikan. Scholle has been playing for over 20
has been licensed through the New York dojo of Ronnie Nyogetsu Seldin,
the most prolific teacher outside Japan.
Next the children played the “Fukuwarai”
game which is similar to pin the tail on the donkey. In this game
blindfolded children take turns adding eyes, eyebrows, a nose, a mouth,
and other features to a face.
We ended our event by making mochitsuki led by Kaiji
Inoue & Koito Karlon. Mochi
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.
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
(rice) flour. 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 faculty of the Greenwich
we were able to enjoy our own freshly pounded mochi this
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