Japan Society of Fairfield County
Japan Society of Fairfield County welcomed 2011, the Year of the
with a traditional Oshogatsu Festival. JSFC
Director Marilyn Moore served as our Master of Ceremonies and
introduced JSFC president Harry Sakamaki.
Mr. Yasuhisa Kawamura, Deputy Consul General and Director of the Japan
Information Center at the Consulate General of Japan in New York,
the ceremonies. Yumi McDonald, newly elected vice president of
programs at JSFC led a champagne toast to the new year. Also
attending were Mr. Gregory Boyko, Honorary Consul General of
Japan in Connecticut; Takashi Aoki, Consul at the Consulate
General of Japan in Boston; and Masakazu Kigure, newly appointed Consul
Affairs at the Consulate General of Japan in New York. We
presented awards of appreciation to Tomoyuki Mitsui, principal of the
Greenwich Japanese School and his wife Keiko, and to Keiji Inoue,
Director of the Japan Education Center. They will be returning to Japan
soon and we will miss them.
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 Zotos International and the Consulate
General of Japan in Boston.
Naoki Achiwa, JSFC membership chair, led the
members and attendees.
Yoshiro Kono performed the dance Matsu no
(Everlasting Green of the Pine Tree).
Kevin Green gave a wonderful talk
about his experiences as an assistant English teacher in Japan and how
he is making use of that experience in his current position as an
elementary school teacher in New York City. The JET program is
sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs under CLAIRE which
promotes direct community to community contacts. Under this
program college graduates from the US and Canada are send to Japan for
a year or two to assist in teaching English in the Japanese public
schools, especially in outlying areas. Mr.Green was assigned to
Shimonoseki in prefecture of Yamaguchi on the southern tip of Honshu,
the main island of Japan. In addition to
responsibilities for English instruction, his musical talents were
called upon for an after school music program.
Naoki Achiwa lead us in a traditional group
sing accompanied by Noriko Kumada. We performed Green Leaves,
Nada Sousou (Shedding tears), and Shonon Jidai(Boyhood).
We then started two events simultaneously.
Christina Di Marco had a demonstration of sumi nagashi - ink
floating on water. Many of our members were able to try their
hand at this process in which an intricate ink pattern is created on
surface of water and transferred to a sheet of paper. Many
patterns are possible and often resemble the pattern in a polished
Inoue, Jim McDonald, and Koito Karlon simultaneously led a
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).
(red 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. Red and white are
the traditional colors of celebration in Japan. 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.
This year one of our three batches of mochi was pink, symbolizing ...
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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