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Makin’ mochi at Michigan

January 20, 2011
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Ann Arbor residents learn about Japanese culture at Mochitsuki

origami194Suzuka Ohzawa, 9, folded a whale from a piece of bright green paper at the origami station during Mochitsuki on Saturday.

Sitting with her mother Yukari Ohzawa, of Novi, Michigan, and her sister Karen, 4, Suzuka talked of her interest in the art form and her collection of origami paper at home.

“It’s really fun,” she said. “I do it a lot when I’m bored.”

The Japanese New Year’s event, which was hosted by the University of Michigan International Institute Center for Japanese Studies, drew about 1,200 visitors to the U-M East Hall Math and Psychology atriums on Jan. 8.

drum194The event was a belated New Year’s celebration, as the Japanese New Year is celebrated Jan. 1.

Visitors to the event enjoyed live music, lessons on creating Japanese calligraphy, Japanese food — and mochi.

During Mochitsuki — mochi-pounding ceremony — mochi is created and eaten. Mochi is a rice confection, and one of the “central foods for celebrating New Year’s in Japan,” said Ken Ito, director of the center.

Read the full story and check out the slideshow at annarbor.com.

Heather Lockwood is a staff reporter for annarbor.com, where this article originally posted on Jan. 8. Global Michigan cover photo and images on this page by Mitch Park.

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