Japanese Tradition Pounding In 2012

 UPDATED 6:08 AM HST Dec 26, 2011
Pounding Mochi
MILILANI, Hawaii -

The Japanese tradition of pounding mochi isn't just about pounding mochi, its a way of bringing the "wa," or what the Japanese call the harmony of the people, together. Family and friends in Mililani gathered on Monday to pitch in for the day long event that has been passed down for generations.

To start, sticky rice is placed into the "seiro," or wooden steaming frames. The rice is then poured into the "usu," a bowl usually made of mortar or wood, and then pounded until smooth with wooden mallets.

"Our days, every time when you pound they used to make the call, 'yoisho, yoisho, yoisho,' it's the sound you make, the rhythm pounding,'' Stanley Haraga said.

Everyone will be here for most of the day, working together, perpetuating a tradition the adults hope the children will continue when they grow up.

"If someone doesn't pass it on, that culture ends. If we don't pass it on, then the next generation won't know," Linda Fujikawa said.

Kellan Kashiwa is one of the grandchildren that participated in Monday's tradition. He hopes to continue swinging in the new year for many years to come.

"A lot of our generation aren't doing this and it's always a good custom to bring on," Kashiwa said.

It takes about five minutes until the consistency is pounded down into a smooth texture. When it's just right, the mochi mixture is brought to a table dusted with potato starch where it is molded into perfect shapes, and sometimes filled with sweetened azuki beans.

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