Mochitsuki, the making of mochi, is one of the rich traditions we have carried on here at Wesley Church for over 37 years. It is a celebration held on auspicious occasions, one of the rich traditions our elders b rought from Japan.
With the New Year, we appreciate the sense of renewal and of new beginnings symbolized by the okasane, a set of two mochi. The larger mochi is the strong foundation, the older generation. The smaller represents the new generation. Placed on top is a Japanese citrus fruit called a dai-dai meaning "generation to generation," every new generation bringing a new beginning.
The words mochi tsuki means "rice cake" (mochi) and "to pound" (tsuku). A special variety of sweet rice is steamed, pounded, then shaped into small cakes (komochi). Mochi is a New Year's food symbolizing strength, good health, and wealth.
You are all invited to come and help make this year's Mochitsuki successful. Our Nichigobu will make delicious lunches for us as we steam, pound (by machine), shape, and cool 4000 lbs of mochi rice to produce 6000 lbs of Komochi for South Bay customers to enjoy. See tasty mochi recipes in our UMW cookbook Soup to Sushi. Proceeds benefit Wesley Church Ministries
Here is an article about the 2015 Mochitsuki
"...Wesley’s annual Mochitsuki where a mountain of mochi was produced — some 2,586 lbs of komochi worth and 84 okasane (altar pieces) were made. It was komochi everywhere as far as the eye could see. And it took a village over two-days to create that much. We had over 300 people helping in this annual fundraiser for our church.
It’s a beautiful sight to see our Fellowship Hall teeming with such hustle and bustle, noise and laughter, as all hands were in, working in assembly line fashion, from steaming, pounding, cutting, shaping and turning mochi. Multi- generations filled the room, skilled teaching the unskilled, practiced hands and unpracticed hands shaping komochi, and our elders talking story to the middle-aged and younger.
Even though this is a long standing fundraiser, it’s more about the heart and sprit of the church as we pass on our cultural traditions. We’re well into our third and fourth generations doing mochi with the fifth and sixth generations. mochi-making whose roots are in Japan, hasn’t been a static practice. We actually don’t hand-pound mochi as they did back in the 1800s. It’s now machine done for mass production. We also have hand-saving plastic cutting tools. And there are new eating traditions being created like peanut butter mochi more suited for a much younger generational palate. However, some things never change because I can see our foreparents from Japan having exactly this kind of gathering of church family back in 1895, with all the color and vibrancy, happy talk and laughter that we have today. And God was present back then just as he is present with us now. Some things thankfully never change.
We have much to be thankful for especially to our family of volunteers. We are thankful to the 61 high schoolers from Independence, Monta Vista, Homestead, and 14 Harker Middle School and CYS youth. We are thankful to Yu-Ai Kai for the hands that joined in, and to our community friends who joined the Wesley family. A special thanks goes out to our church-sponsored Boy Scout Troop 201 who did our set-up and clean-up. They had a lot of white to get off the floors and tables. Our leaders Dale Sasaki and Ron Ogi are thankful to all.
From their effort, the church grossed $13,251.