I have to admit that while I know a lot about Japanese culture, one thing that I’m not too knowledgeable about is the tradition of mochi-making, or mochitsuki. The only thing I knew about it was that Japanese people see the craters and shadows of the moon as a rabbit making these delicious rice cakes. Luckily, one of my schools invited me to their mochi-making event recently.
In mochitsuki, glutinous rice is soaked overnight. Two people then take turns pounding the rice with giant wooden mallets until it turns into a consistency slightly firmer than dough. It’s a great way to get your stress out. But it was such a nice day, the kids were excited to see me, and I had freshly-pounded mochi waiting that there was absolutely no stress in me.
Three cool things about this:
1. 99% of mochi in Japan is made with white glutinous rice, but due to tradition this school always uses red rice, so it was healthier.
2. The kids grew the rice in a field across the street from the school.
3. There were lots of leftovers and I got to take some home!
Ready to take a pounding.
They had me join in on the fun.
Mochi covered in kinako, toasted soybean flour with a peanut butter-like flavour (L), and soy sauce and grated daikon (R).
The field where the rice was grown.