Video: Mochi Making in Makiki

One of my favorite New Year’s traditions is mochitsuki, or mochi making, which is a Japanese tradition that’s common in Hawaii. Last Saturday, the Jodo Mission of Hawaii in Makiki (where I serve on the Board of Directors) held its annual mochitsuki, or mochi making event, which puts out hundreds of pounds of mochi that’s sold to temple members, their families, and the broader community.

For a brief few minutes, they pull out the traditional stone mortar (usu) and long wooden mallets (kine) and let people pound mochi the old fashioned way. But as you see above, most of the conversion from rice to mochi is handled by the temple’s 50-year-old machine. It’s an electric, belt-driven grinder, and suffice it to say, they don’t make those anymore.

Still, the operation requires dozens of volunteers spread across several steps to make the mochi, and I confess, people almost twice my age were able to hustle much longer and harder than I could. Even our youngest son, Alex, gave it his all, trying his hand at every job.

You can also view this video on Vimeo or Blip.TV. Music is “Chillin’ with Jeris” by Copperhead. Also, here are some photos from the mochitsuki event:

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1 Response

  1. Alex Cortez says:

    Wow, that’s awesome, Ryan. Thanks for sharing this cultural experience. Here on Maui the Japanese is nowhere near as significant as in Oahu, so it’s great to learn a bit more – specially as to how it relates to the overall Hawaiian culture.

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