Bainbridge Island Community Network

Elements of the Formula of Community

One of the newly renovated additions to Bainbridge Island is the Filipino American Community Hall. This I include in my list of gains. We here on Bainbridge have a rich history of cultural diversity. It is a history with many twists and turns; some are good, some are sad. Our Native American culture is all but gone. We have strong Japanese and Filipino cultural influences and are richer for that. They were the farmers who made Bainbridge Island strawberries famous the world over.

There was a dark time after the attack on Pearl Harbor when the Japanese population of the Island was taken away to internment camps for what was rationalized at the time as "national security" reasons. But there were individuals who came forth to speak out against such things when it was not popular to do so such as Walt Woodward a local newspaper editor. We tend to have our share of individuals of high moral fiber who speak their minds when needed. Today such things are of the past but we remember them and I feel we are stronger for it.

One event that still exists after many years and was celebrated this year in the newly renovated hall is the annual Mochi Tsuki event.

Mochi is a Japanese confection that is made from a special rice called "sweet rice".

The rice is steamed until it reaches the right consistency
When the "Rice Master" decides the rice is ready it is brought out of the steamer and put in the stone mortar.
The rice is then "mashed" into a sticky mass until it forms a heavy paste. At this point it is now ready for pounding.
The mallet heads are made originally from cherry wood, a strong native hard wood.
At this point the rice is pounded into a thick glutinous paste of fine consistency with heavy blows.
After the rice is pounded and reaches the right consistency it is formed by hand into small flat balls a little larger than a golf ball. Mochi can have many fillings. One of my favorites is a sweet paste made from azuki beans.
A favorite event is the playing of the large Taiko drums. This group is from Seattle. YushinDaiko: A Japanese American Taiko Group.
The sound resonates through out the hall and fills the heart.
This is a New Years celebration and a family affair.