On Dec. 31, the OCO Club hosted its annual mochitsuki at Tanaka Farms in Irvine.
Over 1,700 OCO Club families and friends braved the rain and cold to pound and form mochi, bring good luck to the new year by enjoying the ozoni prepared by Nobuko Christoph and her helpers, and listen to great performances by the OCO Kibou Taiko group.
In addition, the first 700 attendees were treated to loco moco prepared by the OCO BBQ Crew.
Adding to the festivities was the attendance of Kenko Sone, consul general of Japan in Los Angeles, and his wife, who expressed how excited they were to be part of an event celebrating Japanese culture in Southern California.
As in prior years, the main event was the mochitsuki pound-off challenge, in which teams from various Southern California Japanese American organizations shared a sample of their favorite Oshogatsu food and competed to make and decorate the best kagami mochi to bring in the new year. This year there were over 40 teams competing!
Each team’s kagami mochi was outstanding with participants going all-out with decorations that showcased the essence of their team and Japanese culture. The winners of the 2022 OCO mochitsuki pound-off challenge were:
1st place: Yonsei 26
2nd place: OCO Youth Club – 11th grade
3rd place: OCBC Junior YBA
1st place: UCSD NSU
2nd place: Cal State Long Beach NSU
3rd place: UCLA Kyodo Taiko
1st place: OCBC
2nd place: OCO Kibou Taiko
3rd place: Chuo University Alumni Club
OCO Team Division
1st place: OCO Birds of Prey – 3rd grade boys
2nd place: OCO Mighty Dragons – 3rd grade girls
3rd place: OCO Panthers – 6th grade boys
Photos provided by Julia Wong, except where indicated