Ringing in the Year of the Monkey at Mochitsuki

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February 11, 2016
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KPTV filming mochi pounding at Mochitsuki

KPTV films the traditional art of pounding rice for mochi.

In the last 37 years, we’ve promoted more than 500 events. Portland’s premier Japanese New Year event, Mochitsuki, might be the stickiest.

Mochitsuki is the ceremony in which rice is pounded with large mallets, then molded into sticky rice cakes called “mochi.” It symbolizes starting the New Year with a full belly in hopes of abundance for the year ahead. Portland’s annual Mochitsuki event offers food, art, music and hands-on cultural experiences for all ages.

Japanese Food at Mochitsuki

Traditional Japanese food at Mochitsuki.

This year, event-goers enjoyed live performances reflecting traditional and contemporary Japanese culture such as: koto playing; taiko drumming; shakuhachi flute music; Japanese dance; storytelling; and spoken word poetry by G Yamazawa, a national poetry slam champion and two-time individual world poetry slam finalist.

Attendees also watched food demonstrations, sampled authentic Japanese cuisine, and participated in traditional activities such as origami, tea ceremony, New Year’s games, flower arranging, calligraphy, and of course, witnessed the dramatic pounding of mochi.

Playing around with rice might sound like a blast, but a lot of work goes on behind the scenes. That’s where Gard comes in. Our director of operations and finance, Valarie Grudier Edwards, serves on the committee for Mochitsuki, and Gard’s public relations team has promoted the event pro-bono for four consecutive years. This year, Mochitsuki celebrated its 20th anniversary, and we did our part by helping get the word out.

Here’s how we did it:

Learn more about Mochitsuki. »

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