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BETTINA HANSEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Naomi True, 18, of Seattle, pounds sweet rice into mochi with Shoichi Sugiyama, center, for the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community’s 26th annual Mochi Tsuki celebration Sunday. Mochi is a sweet rice cake, and tsuki is a Japanese word that means “making.” “It’s something I look forward to every year,” said True, who has been coming with her family for the past decade. In this traditional method, sweet rice is soaked overnight and then steamed over a fire in wooden boxes called a “seiro,” and then pounded into a smooth dough in the stone bowl, called an “usu.” “Every year I have to protect this mochi tsuki,” said Sugiyama of the annual celebration.

BETTINA HANSEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Takako Satoh, center, in yellow, teaches a group how to roll out the mochi into disks and close it around the filling to make a ball.

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