Japan Society of Fairfield County
Japan Society of Fairfield County welcomed 2010, the Year of the Tiger,
with a traditional Oshogatsu Festival. JSFC
Director Diane Caminis served as our Master of Ceremonies and
introduced JSFC president Harry Sakamaki.
Mr. Toshiya Ito, Consul, Consulate General of Japan in New York, opened
the ceremonies. Mr. Gregory Boyko, Honorary Consul General of
Japan in Connecticut, led a toast to the New Year. We were also
joined by Katsumi Machida, Consul for Economic Affairs at the Consulate
General of Japan in Boston; Yoko Suzuki, Vice Consul for Cultural
Affairs at the Consulate General of Japan in New York; and Tomoyuki and
Keiko Mitsui, principal of the Greenwich Japanese School.
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 the Consulate General of Japan in Boston.
Naoki Achiwa led the introduction of
members and attendees. Harry Sakamaki recognized long time treasurer,
Russell J. Handelman, for twelve years of service. Russ has transferred
treasurer duties to Diane Caminis. Vernon Beck presented
the first Uezumi Award to Dr. Susan G. Larkin, chairwoman of the
Ms. Michie Kumagai performed three pieces on the
koto: Sakura (Cherry Blossoms), Furusato (My Home Town), and
Seoto (Sound of River Stream)
Long time Japan Society member and
Ohnishi, has been
granted the professional name Fujima Konishiki by Soke Fujima School
where she is a
licensed instructor. She performed the classical Japanese dance Kotobuki,
fortune. Kyoko was then joined by Fujima
Nishikiyo, the professional
name granted Yoko Shirakata and danced Shichi
Fukujin (Seven Gods of Good Fortune). This piece was
specially composed and choreographed for the Soke
Fujima IchiFuji-kai in New York by its grandmaster Fujima Kanjuro VIII.
Naoki Achiwa lead us in a traditional group
sing accompanied by Noriko Kumada. We performed Dokokade Haruga
(Spring Somewhere), Kisha Poppo (Traveling by a Steam
Locomotive), and Kawano Nagareno Youni ( As the River Flows)
Marilyn Moore and
Kazumi Inoue led the children in making origami tigers.
The event ended with a
mochitsuki led by Keiji
Inoue, Kevin Theissen, and 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
into small balls. In order to prevent the rice paste from
sticking to the hands of the persons working, it is sprinkled with katakuriko
(now usually potato starch but traditionally from the corm of a lily).
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, Kazumi Inoue, and Hiroko Sakamaki.
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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