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Local news in the New Year

January 2nd, 2004 · No Comments

One of the top news stories this week for our region occurred not too far from our home. The big headline across yesterday’s Seattle Times described the oil spill in the Sound that has damaged a marine estuary and beach area owned by the Suquamish tribe, just north of our island. On the radio today I heard the estimate being one million dollars for clean up, with hundreds of thousands of dollars lost from the tribe’s shellfish season this year. Crabs, clams, birds, a seal pup and all kinds of wildlife have been affected, perhaps for years to come. Chief Sealth, after whom the city of Seattle was named, was Suquamish, and I feel this spill on tribal lands is a special tragedy, since the tribe has so little land, much less than they should have been given according to the original contract with the government, and because they depend on shellfish harvesting. Here’s todays update: Tribe assesses oil-spill damage to clam industry and estuary

Earlier this week also the Seattle Times carried a story about the Japanese New Year celebration on Bainbridge Island.
Mochi-making tradition alive on Bainbridge Island

…For many people of Japanese ancestry, New Year’s is the most important holiday of the year — and to celebrate they make mochi, a Japanese confection prepared from mochiko, or sweet rice, which is more glutinous than regular white rice….

Japanese immigrants first arrived on Bainbridge Island at the turn of the last century and were mostly employed as millworkers and farm laborers, said Clarence Moriwaki of the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community, the group that organizes the Mochi Tsuki.

“Bainbridge Island is one of the very few communities (in the country) with this older generation of Nisei,” Matsumoto said. “The Nisei are now in their 70s and 80s, and there are very few of them left. But it was the Nisei who kept up these traditions.”…

Though technology has changed, Mochi Tsuki is still about giving thanks and gathering as a family, said Matsudaira, who, like her mother, was born on Bainbridge Island. “We wanted to keep it alive so our kids and our grandchildren would be able to experience some of the things we did when we were little.”

I like the idea of keeping tradition alive and handing it down to the children and grandchildren.
One year, we tried to go see the Mochi Tsuki celebration. We soon realized though that standing outside while watching the mochi preparations, lots of hammering the sticky rice concoction, was not easy to do with young children on a cold December day. But I do appreciate the culture treasure, the history and the community here on the island.

Tags: island · news