New Year mochi orders due Dec. 7

Deadline for submitting orders for New Year’s mochi is Dec. 7, said Brycen Hiraoka, the Waimea Higashi Hongwanji secretary.

The Waimea Higashi Hongwanji will have its annual mochi sale on Dec. 29 from 9 to 11 a.m. on the church grounds in Waimea. Orders placed by the Dec. 7 deadline can be picked up at this time.

Hiraoka said plain mochi will sell for $5 per pound, mochi with an, or azuki bean paste, will be $5.50 per pound, and the Kazari Mochi, or New Year’s decoration, will be $4.50 per set.

Patrons wishing to have fresh mochi for the New Year’s, typically a hard-to-get item, are encouraged to order early.

Kagami mochi is a special traditional Japanese decoration for the New Year.

Made from two mochi of different sizes, the smaller placed over the larger one, and a daidai, or Japanese type of bitter orange (Hawaii people usually substitute tangerine with leaves) placed on top and displayed in the house in the kamidana for Toshigami, the god of the new year, to bring good luck and prosperity in the new year.

In some versions, the mochi is placed on a konbu, a seaweed used in nishime, as a symbol of pleasure and joy.

The Japanese American National Museum states mochitsuki is essential to the oshogatsu, or New Year’s celebration, bringing together many hands for fellowship and socializing.

Traditionally created using wooden mallets pounding out steamed rice in a stone mortar, or usu, Hiraoka said the Waimea Higashi Hongwanji now uses machines to crank out mochi to fill orders.

Info: 634-8880

• Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.

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