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News: Okinawa-based soldiers join JGSDF friends to pound rice

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Bilateral rice pounding brings in new year Charles Steitz

Lt. Col. Ameed Micko, 10th Regional Support Group deputy commander, is joined by his daughter, Jordan, a Kadena High School student, during the mochi rice pounding ceremony held at Camp Yaese here Dec. 20. This traditional festival, dating back hundreds of years, celebrates the beginning of a new year and wishes everyone a prosperous, healthy and successful life. Standing adjacent to Micko and his daughter are Japan Ground Self-Defense Force Col. Hideyoshi Fujita, 6th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Group commander, and Command Sgt. Maj. Norimitsu Ando.

Story by Charles Steitz, 10th RSG Public Affairs

CAMP YAESE, Okinawa, Japan - Japan Ground Self-Defense Force members from the 15th Brigade and U.S. Army soldiers stationed in Okinawa along with family members joined together here Dec. 20 for the traditional Japanese mochi rice pounding ceremony.

This traditional festival, dating back hundreds of years, celebrates the beginning of a new year and wishes everyone a prosperous, healthy and successful life.

The event was hosted by Col. Hideyoshi Fujita, commander, 6th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Group, and Command Sgt. Maj. Norimitsu Ando at Camp Yaese. Everyone pitched in to make the rice cakes and joined together to enjoy mochi soup.

Jordan Micko, a Kadena High School student, said, “I really enjoyed being here and learning about this important Japanese tradition. This also brings our communities together, and I plan to take part in many more cultural traditions and opportunities to interact with my Japanese friends here on island.”

During the ceremony, the rice is pounded into paste and molded into round balls. While eaten year-round, mochi is a traditional food for the Japanese New Year. Similar food items are prominent throughout the Asian-Pacific rim.

According to history, samurai warriors took mochi into battle because it was easy to prepare and transport. The sound of the samurai pounding the rice was an indicator they were ready to go into battle.


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This work, Okinawa-based soldiers join JGSDF friends to pound rice, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.

Date Taken:12.20.2013

Date Posted:12.26.2013 19:54

Location:CAMP YAESE, OKINAWA, JP

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