Mochitsuki '99

Every December, WCBT members get together during Mochitsuki to make the traditional Japanese treat known as "mochi" (moh-chee). Here Kendra Kagawa and Allison Haraguchi show the "timing" and "technique" of mochi pounding (such as it is).

The Story of Mochi:
It starts out looking like regular white rice, but that's where the comparison ends...

Our Mochitsuki always starts with the Junior YBA group making an early morning breakfast for the mochi-making crew. Here, June Sakaue (r) is assisted by Mrs. Laura Miyake (l).

Here, Mrs. Miyake helps get the mochi-making underway by washing the special mochi rice.

Teen Kiyoshi Earley stacks a tray of rice to be cooked on the steamer.

As soon as the rice is cooked, it is softened first by poking and punching with long sticks.

A closeup shot of the stick action...

Richard Kagawa (l) and Kevin Hata (r) begin the next step, pounding the mochi with heavy mallets.

Dick Koga (l) and Bill Dubble (r) add their muscle to help pound the mochi.

Couple Nancy (l) and Bob Leong (r) work together to finish off the mochi. ("The family that pounds together...")

After the mochi is pounded, it is cut into uniform segments using a mochi cutter, as Kim Hatakeyama, Rev. Ken Kawawata and Mary Hatakeyama demonstrate.

Next, WCBT ladies share a funny story while they roll the segments into the traditional round ball shape.

Here, Kim Hatakeyama (l), Ricky Leong (center), and Bob Leong (r) represent three generations of mochi-makers working together at WCBT.
*All pics by David Jung