After the new year, it’s traditional to eat fresh mochi (餅), a type of rice cake that is pounded into a very sticky paste. It is made in a process called 餅搗き (mochitsuki), literally “mochi-pounding.” There was a mochitsuki at lunch today, so I bought some mochi with Richard and Lyra. The stuff is incredibly sticky; it took all three of us (using only chopsticks and no fingers) to tear it apart.

The procedure for mochitsuki is quite simple. The guy with the big mallet pounds the mochi repeatedly while the guy next to him adds water and kneads it a bit between whacks. After a thorough pummeling, the mochi is removed and formed into small balls. These are then coated in various powders for flavoring.

The sign off to the left says 「もちつきを楽しむ会」 mochitsuki o tanoshimu kai or “get-together for the enjoyment of mochitsuki.”