In January, nine au pairs in San Francisco had the opportunity to experience the Japanese American culture in San Francisco by attending the Japanese Mochi Pounding Festival. The annual event is held at the Asian Art Museum and presents the colorful and exciting New Year tradition of mochi pounding to make delectably sweet rice cakes. The event includes live music, energetic dance performances, and traditional attire. The au pairs attended with other community members. Au pair Andrea from Colombia said, “Learning about the Asian-American culture is one of my favorite things about living in San Francisco and this event made me see how complex and fascinating it really is.”
The festival began as a performance and ended with interactive participation with the audience. Au pair Yali from China noted, “I think this festival is very interesting and has strong interaction, which can reflect the characteristics of Japan.” During the performance, the au pairs learned about the origins of mochi, how it is made, and even were able to taste the mochi samples that were made in front of them.
Au pair Diana from Colombia was selected to get hands-on experiences and help turn the warm, sweet rice into mochi. She shared, “I've always liked to participate in new things. Understanding the long and delicate process to prepare the mochi and having the opportunity to participate in one of its stages has undoubtedly been a great experience.”
The au pairs loved experiencing and learning about one of the many cultures found in San Francisco. It was an incredibly eye-opening and interesting event.