Mochi pounding a yearly tradition

FIRST PHOTO: Japanese Cultural Society of Maui President Brian Nagami swings a wooden mallet, or kine, while society director Leonard Oka tends the stone mortar, or usu, during a mochi pounding demonstration at the Wailuku Hongwanji Mission on Friday evening. Nagami said that the annual event gives people a chance to experience the traditional New Year’s Day activity. For others, it is an opportunity to get in touch with their roots. “We do this every year,” he said.

SECOND PHOTO: Japanese Cultural Society of Maui member Amy Watanabe shows Wailuku Elementary School 2nd-grader Chloe Moikeha, 7, how to stuff mochi with bean paste and form it into a round treat. Watanabe was a picture bride from Fukushima, Japan.