December 28, 2008 – Wailea Village, Hawaii

VIDEO by David Corrigan

The traditional mochitsuki, or mochi pounding, took place in the old plantation town of Wailea on Sunday.

Residents gathered to pound steamed rice into sticky mochi in observance of the Japanese new year custom.

The 11th annual event was hosted by Akiko Masuda, who’s Akiko’s Buddhist B&B is located in the middle of the small and historic village. This year, emphasis was placed on teaching a new generation the art of mochi pounding. Akiko credited Collins Tomei with arranging a practice mochi pounding in order to train the future practitioners.

Veteran mochi turner Wimpy Sugino was honored for his years of (sometimes dangerous) rice turning. Music was provided by Papaikou’s Lito Arkangel, and the exquisite dance movements of Shizuno Nasu thrilled the audience between pounding sessions.