Mochi pounding

The Maui News / COLLEEN UECHI photo
The Maui News / COLLEEN UECHI photo
The Maui News / COLLEEN UECHI photo

Leonard Oka shows his 5-year-old granddaughter, Merahi Oka, how to pound mochi in the usu, or mortar, at Wailuku Hongwanji Mission on Wednesday night. More than 100 people came to enjoy fresh mochi, hot bowls of ozoni and games during a celebration of oshogatsu, or New Year’s, traditions.

Amy Watanabe shapes fresh mochi into small disks to be grilled or topped with a variety of sauces and seasonings.

Kisa Uradomo (from left), Ronald Fukumoto, Ashlie Kamimoto and Mitchell Fukumoto fill bowls with vegetables, meat and mochi for the ozoni, a Japanese soup traditionally enjoyed on New Year’s Day. Ozoni varies by region; this one is a “Maui-style” recipe that combines Ronald Fukumoto’s father’s favorite ingredients, wife Kay Fukumoto said.

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