Mochitsuki (もちつき)

Yesterday at school we did an activity known as もちつき (mochitsuki = mochi pounding). A big mortar (usu) was placed out the front of the school and all the kids had a turn pounding the rice mochi into a thick paste using a big wooden mallet (kine).

At least two people (one to pound the rice, and another to apply water to the paste) must keep a constant rhythm to ensure that the mochi doesn`t dry out and become inedible.

I have seen this done before (by professionals) and the speed they can reach is quite amazing... check out this video from youtube...

At school, the gym teacher started with the mallet, and the office manager was wetting the mochi paste, it wasn`t quite so fast, but it looked pretty cool (you have to be very alert to do this kind of activity so that you don`t get your fingers pounded into the mochi paste!!)

After the gym teacher had softened the glutinous rice, the kids all had a turn (with a smaller mallet) pounding the rice. It was so cute, some of them couldn`t even lift the mallet!
After sufficiently pounding the rice, some of the kids` mums made the mochi into little snacks for us.

They made three kinds of mochi...

This one was plain mochi to be soaked in soy sauce and wrapped in `nori` (dried seaweed). This was the kids` favorite.

This one was coated in 黄粉 (kinako = roasted soybean flour) - my favorite!

This mochi was stuffed with azuki beans / anko and was also very delicious.

What a yummy day!

* Oooh, and by the way, yesterday (in the Japanese calendar), the date was 22.1.22 (Heisei 22 is the reigning year of the current emporer) - I don`t know if it has any special significance, but it seemed pretty cool.


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