Currently, BIJAC hosts three main events which promote community connections, celebrate our culture, and are just plain fun!
For over a millennium, making and eating the sweet rice treat mochi has been a celebrated New Year’s tradition in Japan, with generations of families and communities coming together to wish good health and prosperity for the new year. Each year BIJAC brings this celebration to Bainbridge Island. We invite everyone, young and old, to bundle up against the crisp winter air, and enjoy the tradition of mochi tsuki (moe–chee sue–key), or “mochi–making.”
Mochi–making involves a centuries old method of first steaming the sweet rice over an open fire, then placing the cooked rice into a warm stone or concrete bowl called an usu. Using large wooden mallets, two people rhythmically pound the rice in the usu while a third person uses his bare hands to swiftly move the rice between each mallet crash. After several minutes of vigorous pounding, the rice becomes a thick, smooth dough — mochi. While traditional pounding takes place outside, back in the kitchen modern mochi-making appliances are also running. Once cooked and pounded, people of all ages hand form the steaming–hot mochi into small cakes. Some are filled with a sweet bean paste called “an.” Guests can then eat their mochi warm and fresh, or bring them home to be later roasted and dipped in a sweetened soy sauce.Mochi Tsuki 2021
Summertime brings picnics and BIJAC’s is one of the best! Held every other year in August at Bainbridge Island’s Battle Point Park (usually the first Sunday), it is a time for games, great food, and joyous reunions among old friends. Since the word has gotten out, more and more new friends are also joining us, making the gathering even richer. Our next picnic will be held in 2021.
BYOB (Bring Your Own Bento) results in a plethora of delicious dishes to share, so you’ll find plenty beyond the treats you bring along. All are welcome. Come, bring your friends, and meet many new ones!Google Maps Directions to the Picnic
Day of Remembrance and Commemoration of the Exclusion
Each year, BIJAC honors our Nisei with a series of activities on the Island. On February 19, 2007 — Day of Remembrance (the day of the signing of Executive Order 9066), volunteers gather at the Exclusion Memorial to tend to the grounds, cleaning the site and rejuvenating the landscaping. Armed with gloves, shovels, and trimmers, friends of our Nisei bond over a hard day’s work.
On March 30th, the day marking the anniversary of the very sad day when Bainbridge Island Japanese Americans were forcibly removed from the Island, the public is invited to hear speeches by local dignitaries, survivors, and others, with words that remind us of our deep appreciation for diversity, justice, and the need for vigilant protection of our civil and constitutional rights. Often the day is filled with history, theater, and other programs devoted to the Commemoration.View Current Events