the mochi “dance”

the mochi “dance” 1

Originally uploaded by SOFennell

It isn’t really a dance, but it appeared that way while watching the mochi tsukuri at the Triangle Nippon Club’s Shinnenkai (New Year’s Celebration) at the Duke Gardens this past Sunday.

There were so many things to be enjoyed and appreciated at this event, Koto, good food (Chirashizushi), and the opportunity to mellow out with a bowl of Matcha, but my favorite by far was the mochi pounding – pounding sweet rice into a large cake – a traditional New Year’s activity. It’s something I recall witnessing in my old “Kago” neighborhood.   The image that comes to mind is of a huge stone mortar in the center of a small crowd and some of the strong men of the neighborhood doing the pounding.  I wonder if it could have been carved from a large lava rock from Sakurajima – pure speculation, but a possibility.


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4 Responses to “the mochi “dance””

  1. neki rivera Says:

    have to be daring and try my hand albeit no stone mortar.

    • Susan Says:

      Apparently, a lot of it’s done by machine these days, but that takes the fun (and romance, I’m thinking) out of it, doesn’t it? These folks were working to the rhythm of the chant “Yoisho, Yoisho!” by the group of folks standing nearby.

  2. whereishenow Says:

    yes they have combination bread/mochi machines…

    our elementary school grows rice as a school projest and we make mochi in the fall…. four stations for pounding (all the little kids take turns, with help from volunteer parents) and 4 or 5 machines also work the mochi.. it’s a big project and everyone gets to eat lots and take some home…. I love mochi!!!!!

    what’s your favorite way to eat it susan and neki??? I like it with kinako and sugar.. my kids like shoyu and sugar and wrap it with nori…

    • Susan Says:

      Mmmmm. Love it both ways. I grew up with the shoyu & sugar….oh yum! It’s the only way I ate it unless my mom put it in her ozoni, then I loved in zenzai at New Year’s….never had it in kinako until I was in the States (I think) – kind of like dessert.

      I can order it fresh made from a local Japanese food store here and haven’t done that in quite some time. Maybe this coming winter I’ll do it. I think they only make it once a year and they use machines. I asked about it one time and I was needless to say, a bit deflated when I found that out. It’s neat that the Nippon Club here does the traditional pounding.

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