What does it mean to be Japanese American? What does it mean to be Japanese living in America? Did your family come over in 1890 or 1990? What does it mean when one is half Japanese, quarter Japanese, eighth Japanese? Regardless of our ethnic or racial heritage, many of us, at one time or another in our lives, wonder about our cultural identity, and what we want to pass on to the next generation. There are as many answers to these questions as there are individuals.
Mochi is a small round confection made out of rice. It can be eaten with sweet red bean paste or dipped in soy sauce. Traditionally, mochi is made by pounding steamed glutinous rice in a large wooden bowl, called a usu, with a wooden mallet called a kine. Many Japanese Americans who may have let other traditions fall by the wayside cannot imagine New Years without their mochi.