Saturday, December 30, 2017

"Mochi-tsuki" Mochi Pounding, 12/30/17

The other day, my photo friend Curtis Takano mentioned he will be going to his friend's annual mochi pounding. I immediately invited myself. I am glad the Nishimoto Ohana is still continuing this Japanese tradition.

Here is the clip

My first hand experience...

Sweet rice

Soaked overnight

Rice is steamed. When the steam reaches the top, it means the bottom tray is ready.

The hot rice has just been emptied into this container 

The first step is to break up the rice by each person pushing it to the other. In between a person is ready to use a scooper to turn the rice up and mix it - after about 4 rounds or when the rice is softer then the pounding begins. Each person alternately pounds it 3 times and again the person uses the scooper to turn the softer rice up and mix it.

Ready to make the individual mochi for:
"Kagami mochi - mirror rice cake" display for New Year decoration - "It usually consists of two round mochi (rice cakes), the smaller placed atop the larger, and a daidai (a Japanese bitter orange) with an attached leaf on top."

The Nishimoto family was generous in giving me all these (apology: they did not look like this when I left).
I partook in the mochi softening and pounding (I am not strong, my hits were like taps). I also partook in forming these mochi which was difficult for me to understand. Jennifer was very patient!!!

 It was such a fun day, besides a potluck, Geri made us custom sushi.

Mine had everything: avocado, tuna, cucumber, imitation crab, spam. Then there were condiments to indulge in.

It will be very sad if this tradition originating of course from Japan many centuries ago is discontinued. I am so happy I invited myself to experience this. Thank you Curtis and Jennifer as well as the Nishimoto Ohana (family)!!!


Anonymous said...

A friend of mines does the same yearly for their business to sell and to give away to others. Except they don't pound they use a machine from the 1930's - yes, it's that old and in still excellent condition - sorta looks like a pasta maker, and when it extrudes the mochi, a cutter cuts off a piece and flings it to the waiting mochi shapers. We filled it with whatever we wanted: peanut butter, strawberry jam, anko, etc. The only thing is that mochi is super hot, but it has to be shaped while hot. The one thing I didn't like was that since it's fresh mochi it hardens up the next day but it keeps for over a year in the freezer. And the best part? The ono stew that was cooking, secret recipe. Hoo da bestest. -N

celia said...

How cool is that - a 1930’s machine still working to help make Mochi. Too bad the Mochi has to be hot! Happy New Year! - N

jalna said...

Great photos!! Happy New Year!!

celia said...

Thank you Jalna. I wanted to capture this awesome custom. I am glad you and Landon
went to Japan recently. Happy New Year!!

Anonymous said...

Great fun.

.just a small comment.
You might try not cropping so tight.
Youre cutting off part of images that tell the story. Esp the hands and use borders of trays.

Frame with objects and not cut them off:)

celia said...

Thank you anonymous for sharing. I am open to improving my photos especially since I enjoy telling a story.