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A Japanese New Year

All over the world, ceremonies are held to celebrate the new year. On Saturday, Jan. 7 a fascinating Japanese celebration will take place at the University of Michigan.

The University of Michigan’s Center for Japanese Studies, Consulate-General of Japan (in Detroit), Subaru Research and Development, Inc., and Japan Roads Cultural Tours invites the public to the ninth annual Mochitsuki celebration. The event begins at 1 p.m. at East Hall Math & Psychology Atriums, 530 Church Street, Ann Arbor. (The event is free.)

“Mochitsuki, or the pounding of rice cakes, is a tradition in Japan to bring in the New Year,” said Jonathan Zwicker, director, Center for Japanese Studies, and associate professor, Asian Languages & Cultures. “Our goal is to honor a Japanese tradition and offer a way for students and local families to understand the rich traditions of Japanese culture.”

Events include making Mochi (sticky rice treats), live music by Miyabi and Raion Taiko, Kakizome (calligraphy), Kamishibai (storytelling), Manga-drawing, Origami, and Japanese games.

The Center for Japanese Studies promotes and disseminates research on Japan, fosters communication among diverse disciplines, and encourages new approaches in the understanding of Japan and its place in the world.