Weston Swingin’ It

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Mochitsuki is an ancient Japanese New Year tradition, and a more recent Bainbridge Island one. Sweet, glutinous rice is steamed over an outdoor fire, then pounded with wooden mallets to create a smooth, chewy, slightly sweet dough that’s then formed into small cakes or dumplings. I can remember making mochi at my grandparents’ house when I was a little kid, watching my dad and uncles swinging the mallets while my great grandma called the cadence and turned the rice between swings. We broiled the mochi until crisp on the outside and molten in the middle, then dipped them in soy sauce and sugar to eat.

These days, on Bainbridge, it’s a much bigger deal. In fact, it’s one of the biggest Island gatherings of the year, and it’s fun to go and meet up with friends, hang out and eat mochi. So many people show up, most of the mochi is made “modern style” with a machine, but to keep the tradition alive, they always have the old-school method going on for demonstration.

And Weston never likes to miss an opportunity to swing a big stick or smash anything, so it’s a perfect match. This is him pounding rice and having fun. The man next to him–with headband on–calls the cadence and reaches in to turn the rice between swings. Brave man. Great event.

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