To mark the start of the New Year in Japan, a Mochi making event (Mochi tsuki) was held by ISDAK and KIFA within the dormitory grounds.
Mochi is normally eaten at the start of the New Year as it symbolizes health and good luck. I love mochi, so I was really looking forward to taking part and eating some freshly made mochi!
The event started at 11am and we waited outside the plaza for the mochigome (sweet glutinous rice used to make mochi) to be cooked. Before you can start pounding the mochigome, the rice needs to be soaked and then cooked in a Seiro, which is a steaming pot.
Once the rice is ready, it is taken out of the seiro and put into an Usu (mortar) to be pounded with a Kine (mallet).
There were mallets of various sizes and weights and we all got the chance to pound the rice. Before the proper pounding begins, first it needs to be mixed and smooshed together a bit, like in the photo below.
Pounding the mochi to make it smooth and shiny requires two people – one person to pound the mochi, and another person to add water turn the mochi over after every hit.
It’s actually really hard work trying to pound the mochi to make it smooth, so it’s a good thing there were lots of us at this event as we all got to have a go and share out the mochi pounding work! I was originally given one of the heavier mallets when it was my go, but luckily someone gave me a lighter one after a few hits as my arms started aching a bit – it’s definitely a good workout!
When the mochi is smooth, you are meant to separate it into small chunks for eating while it is still warm.
You can eat mochi plain but its a bit tasteless so normally you have it with red bean paste (anko) or other things. At this event, there were 4 different types of mochi flavours; Red bean paste (anko), Rice flour (kinako), Soy sauce with seaweed, and radish paste (not quite sure what it was but it was made with radishes!).
This was honestly the nicest mochi I’ve ever had – it was still warm as I bit into each one and it was ever so soft and chewy! I had 2 and a half plates of mochi, it was that good!
After all that mochi, I also had some freshly cooked Ozoni – a mochi soup with vegetables and tofu. It was delicious as it had lots of ginger in it and it was really filling.
As well as the mochi making, there was also a prize draw where you could win a pair of tickets to Tokyo Disneyland! Sadly I didn’t win the tickets, but everyone who entered the draw received a 500yen coupon which can be used in shops around the dormitory.
I had such a fantastic time at the mochi making event! My stomach is about to explode with all this mochi inside me, but you don’t get to eat freshly made mochi like this on a regular basis so it was so worth it! No more mochi for at least… a week? Hahaha
Thank you ISDAK and KIFA for organizing this event!