Friday, December 17, 2010

Mochi Madness

The end of the year is nearing, and that can only signal one thing: mochi.

Okay, so the end of the year usually signals a lot more than this mysterious Japanese oddity I speak of (Does she mean "mooch?"), but at our school (and in most of Japan, for that matter) mochi-making is a celebrated event marking many endings: the end of the school term, the end of the year, and the end of the 3rd year students' school life as they leave to study for university entrance exams:

So what the heck is mochi, anyway? It is a soft, glutenous, blob of pounded rice which is sometimes filled with sweet or savory fillings, and eaten in a variety of dishes and snacks. As with the cult obsession here with plain, white rice itself, mochi can be considered a national, cultural point of pride in Japan. In Western culture, we envision a boring old man on the moon...for the Japanese there are two rabbits living up there pounding out mochi:

Our school's PTA moms host a mochi-pounding event for the 3rd year students (basically, our seniors) so that they can experience the old, traditional way of making mochi in Japan. I especially like this event because of it's guaranteed-free-food factor:

The guy on the left is a hardcore mochi master who's been coming here all three years that I've been here, and probably longer:

The principal and vice-principals have their go at the sticky rice:

As did I...

Whacking grains into submission is most definitely an excellent way to say "sayonara" to 2010.

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