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Little Tokyo Says Hello to 2009

By Ed Fuentes
Published: Friday, January 02, 2009, at 07:51AM
Weller Court: New Year's Day 2009 Ed Fuentes

Crowds gather for the "Oshogatsu in Little Tokyo" New Year's Celebration.

“Oshogatsu in Little Tokyo” is the New Year’s Day Festival that's been held since 1999, and it's certainly not a bad way to start the year.

On and around Weller Court's main stage, which is hosted by the Japanese Consulate, people gather to see the hammering of casks, the mochi-tsuki pounding of rice cake, and rhymthic percussion of Taiko Drums.

The beat may have driven some in attendance straight to a cafe, in search of a hangover-curing bowl of ramen. Thankfully for them, many area eateries were open.

After the sake casks were ceremoniously hammered opened and LAPD Deputy Chief Terry Hara had offered a toast for a prosperous 2009, the Nisei Week Queen and her Court came to the stage wearing crowns and kimonos. They tossed mochi rice cakes to the crowd, but were only able to reach the closer crowds.

As audience standing in the upper decks began to wave hands hoping for samples, Hara stepped back on stage and called for some back-up from Senior Lead Officer Jack Ritcher, whose beat includes Little Tokyo and the Arts District. After a few warm up tosses, the two were able to reach the upper rows, where a few admirably good catches were made.

Dub it the "Annual Little Tokyo Mochi New Year’s Day Toss."


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