Mochitsuki-January 13

7 Jan

The Japan-America Society of Dallas/Fort Worth is hosting a New Year’s celebration next Sunday from 2:00-5:00pm at Fujitsu Network Communications (2801 Telecom Pkwy, Richardson).  Mochitsuki is the craft of making mochi (sweet rice cakes).  According to JASDFW’s website:

“Pounding Japanese sweet rice to make rice cakes is traditionally done at shrines, public places, and homes at the end of the year… The preparation begins days in advance, but the spirit of cooperation and hard work that go into making mochi bring people together and make the effort worthwhile.  People take turns pounding, turning, and eating mochi, and sharing thoughts about the past year and hopes and dreams for the next.”

Mochi will be served with sweet bean paste, roasted soy bean powder, and seaweed wrap with soy sauce.  The celebration will also feature Kakizome (first calligraphy of the New Year), cultural displays and performances, and Ikebana (flower arrangement) demonstrations.  Admission is $5 per adult and free to children 12 and under.

3 Responses to “Mochitsuki-January 13”

  1. donnaaries 01/13/2008 at 11:50 pm #

    Some photos of the mochi sampled at the festival today:
    Mochi with red bean paste
    Mochi with roasted soy bean powder (this was my favorite. The roasted soy bean powder tasted like toasted peanut butter)
    Mochi with nori and soy sauce

    There was also a demonstration of the old fashioned method of pounding mochi in a giant stone bowl.

  2. FatCap 01/18/2008 at 9:06 am #

    Donna, as I was telling you on Sunday, In Viet Nam, mochi is the foundation of an item called Banh Day (pronounced bang dzey), in which two mochi/banh day cakes sandwich a finely ground/pounded steamed pork cake.

    Here is a photo:

    As in Japan, it’s served at new year’s celebrations and has significant cultural value: legend ties it to a decision that a old king (named Hung Vuong–“Hung the King”) has to make about which of his heirs he should bestow with the crown. The version I was taught, in childhood, was that the most worthy son, unlike his brothers who presented gold and other precious items, presented two simple cakes, banh day and banh chung (a flat, mung bean paste and pork-filled, banana leaf-wrapped, steamed cake), which, he told the king, honored the love and hard labor that parents put into raising their children, as bountiful as the earth (represented by the flat banh chung), as boundless as the sky (round, slightly concave, cupola-shaped banh day). His thoughtfulness earned him the throne.

    Several variations of the legend:

  3. kuidaore 01/24/2008 at 12:25 am #

    Donna, I didn’t see you there. We ran into Bill and a Taiwanese friend.

    I liked the kinako (roasted soy bean power) version, too. With soy sauce, grilled mochi tastes much better You can just throw it in in your toaster oven and you get the same effect as grilling.

    The old-fashioned way is to grill it on a hibachi–Real hibachi’s look like these.

    Shop Minoya in Plano has several kinds of mochi right now, probably until they sell out.

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