The Orange Optimist Club held its annual mochitsuki on Dec. 29, at Tanaka Farms in Irvine. More than 450 people joined in the fun of pounding and making the traditional rice cakes. Again this year, many organizations participated in the okasane (mochi-stacking) contest. Above: Michelle Kubo, Casey Kubo, and Frbizzio Trujillo pound the rice.
Three generations working together, led by granddad Cliff Soeda, Joshua Soeda, Travis Soeda, and Sandra Soeda.
Jey Niizawa, Nicholas Nojiri, and Nicholas Kiyohara wash the rice for steaming.
Stacey Yoshinaga gathers finished mochi for bagging.
From left: Sumie Shiokawa, Kaoruko Ono, Kiyohiko Shiokawa, and Fumiko Ishii admire the one of the competitive okasane.
Dan Hardy prepares the bottom rice layer before Mark Morishita can complete the stack.
Photos by RICHARD FUKUHARA