Mele Kalikimaka! May you all be with your loved ones on this special day.
The Hilo Coast United Church of Christ in Honomu will hold a candlelight Christmas Eve service at 7 p.m. on Monday, which is Christmas Eve. The service will offer traditional lessons, carols and special music, including music for the heart and soul played by pianist Anthony Maroudas.
The following “Merry Christmas and Merry Mochi” announcement is brought to you by the Wailea Village Historic Preservation Community, which extends Merry Christmas joy and aloha to all the Big Island folks. It is from Akiko Masuda, the catalyst for much that goes on in Wailea.
“Christmas can only mean one thing for Wailea folks — that mochi pounding is right around the corner.
“You know it’s mochi pounding when Kinuko Arakaki and Jo Rabago bring 10 pounds of mochi rice and when Jean Monnier calls to announce her Costco trip and asks if we need mayo, paper plates, forks, chopsticks … . You know its mochi pounding time when the special cashier at Abundant Life asks, ‘When is mochi pounding this year?’ or when Charlene Asato calls and asks “Do you want me to start the mochi poster for this year? Or when Miyo Harumi of Miyo’s newest restaurant calls to ask, ‘Is mochi pounding on Saturday or Sunday?’
“You know its mochi pounding time when Milt Yafuso of Hui Okinawa Kobudo Taiko group calls to tell you how many drummers are coming to perform at noon, or when Shinto dancer Shizuno Nasu of Volcano calls to ask if she can dance with the taiko group, or when Fred Soriano calls to say that he’s coming over to touch up and readjust his stone sculptures, especially the ‘balancing’ stone lanterns in anticipation of the mochi crowds coming.
“And it all begins the day after Christmas. On Dec. 26, Akiko’s B&B guests will begin washing and soaking the 100 pounds of mochi rice. Also on the 26th, a dozen of Akiko’s friends and ohana, will be making their annual ‘mochi pilgrimage’ from Honolulu to kokua with setting up, chopping, washing and whatever has to be done.
“On Friday, the 28th, Clyde Chinen, Brad Kurokawa, Jim Rynders and Connie Leyendecker will start to move the two stone usu (mortars) belonging to the late Masa Chinen. They will also move the solid strong and hefty kama (fire stoves) built by Tidi Mendosa, the eight seiro (redwood rice steamer boxes) that have been soaking for seven days, the pakini (steel tub) loaded with the soaking kine (wooden pounding mallets) and the seven waiwi guava ‘mashing poles’ cut by Jim. They’ll also set up the tent borrowed every year from the Honomu Hongwanji.
“They’ll carry out the old wooden benches from under Jo Rabago’s house like they’ve done every year, to place them around the pounding area for participants to sit. Then on Saturday, the 29th, Mochi Day, at 6 a.m., Jim and Connie will start the fire in the cool darkness of the morning, with an ‘untraditional’ blow torch. If we’re lucky, Wimpy Sugino, our ‘original’ fire starter and mochi turner will show up just to check up on us.
“Sticks of incense will be lit with a silent and hopeful prayer that the skies will be clear with a bit of wind to cool off the many pounders of all ages who make the pilgrimage annually to wee Wailea Village to welcome in the New Year. Yoko Gussman and Brad are the brave mochi turners. They’re the ones who turn the mochi between each pound of the swinging wooden mallets. They are quick and agile, and Yoko and Brad can still boast that they have all their fingers!
“Sleepy Wailea town becomes a festival alive with artists, entertainers and inspiring community folks: Charlene Asato with her lovely cards, photos and dolls; Miko Yajima, and Yukko Saiyonji and Hiromi Beck with their Japanese clothing and handmade ‘zouri’ house slippers; Hakalau seniors with their homemade goodies and crafts; Rayna Armour with good-reading used books and Ken Armour with his orchids; Maile Yamanaka with her fortune telling; Julie Kaneshiro and friends with their I Ching readings; Christian Kay with updates on our Hamakua Community Development Plan; Keith ‘Bradda Skibs’ Nehls and Pam Holton and the Hakalau Paka Love Crew with bottled water and pictures of their fabulous Paka community work; Keri Yamamoto with her Heller bodywork; Ayen and Ajiao Huang with vegetables and produce from their Wailea farm; Lito Archangel with his soulfilled music; Lou Ann Gurney and Leonard Kubo playing jazz; Nani Svendsen of Kohala with her kadomatsu (bamboo good luck) floral arrangements; and many more unexpected small kine and wondrous surprises, that can only happen in a small out-of-the-way former plantation village.
“And, of course, Miyo’s Chicken Hekka and Vegetarian Hekka $5 plate lunch — a Mochi Day classic, available from 10 a.m. until sold out. And then at noon, Hui Okinawa Kobudo Taiko drumming group booms in the New Year, rattling and charging and throbbing us all with powerful energies and good health to start the new Year of the Snake. So come on out, to Wailea on Saturday, the 29th. Drive along Hamakua to the 15-mile marker and look for the posted red mochi signs, put up and then taken down year after year by Jim Antilla and Bill Lacy.
“Park at the Hakalau Baseball Park across from Capellas Gym, and walk back in time to Wailea Village. So many, many folks make mochi pounding happen, and you can feel the love and aloha that they all give year, after year, after year. Come and start the new year by pounding and tasting mochi in a very old plantation village that pulsates of old Hawaii and aloha.”
Kokua Way sends a special mahalo and aloha to Akiko Masuda, who brings us closer during the mochi pounding, as well as many other Akiko’s Buddhist Bed and Breakfast happenings throughout the year.
The Ahualoa road paving to repair the trench that was dug for the transmission waterline from the new Ahualoa Well toward Honokaa began Thursday, Dec. 20. Shari Uyeno, who has replaced Finn McCall as the Department of Water Supply liaison with Goodfellow Brothers, said, “ the delay has been due to the need to make sure all bacteria had been eliminated from the waterline. This was done by chlorine treatment.”
Ms. Uyeno can be reached at DWS Engineering, 961-8070, ext. 252. The project manager with Goodfellow said, “some portions of the trench will not be paved, since the connections to the existing waterlines are not yet complete.”
The sign boards announcing the work went up on Dec. 18; one near the Honokaa end of Old Mamalahoa Highway where the pipe was stored the other the Waimea side of First Gate. There will be one lane open during the repaving. The project will extend through the Holidays, with time off for Christmas and New Year’s.
Carol Yurth’s column is published every Sunday and spotlights activities on the Hilo-Hamakua coast. She welcomes items for her column. Reach her by mail (46-1240 Kalehua Road, Honokaa HI 96727) at least 10 days before the requested publication date, call her at 775-7101, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.