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Mochi-tsuki (Pounding Rice Cakes)

Monday 4th January 2016


Mochi-tsuki (rice cake pounding) takes place during all kinds of Japanese celebrations such as Festivals and New Year. Yesterday I got to try it myself, and I have to say that there is nothing quite like the taste of fresh mochi.

Mochi-tsuki
So, to make mochi you can't just use any rice, you need a special, glutinous rice called mochigome. Once it has been cooked, it's placed in an 'usu' which is an unbelievably heavy mortar, usually made of wood or stone.

Mochi-tsuki
You then take turns pounding the rice using a kine (wooden mallet), this is performed in a steady rhythm while somebody splashes water onto the rice in-between each hit, this is so it doesn't stick to the sides. Yes, some poor person has to shove their hands into the usu while another person is smashing it with a mallet.

If you get a chance to try mochi-tsuki make sure you take it nice and slow, I'm sure breaking an elderly lady's hand isn't on any of your to do lists.

Mochi-tsuki
After smashing the rice several times it was my turn to splash and do my best not to become "that Gaijin who got his hand pounded". It was actually great fun and it's very surprising how quickly the rice turns into mochi.

Mochi-tsuki
We did this process several times, ensuring that there was more than enough mochi to go round. Once it has been prepared you can have it fresh with soy sauce and grated radish, or red beans and kinako powder.

With the leftovers we filled them with red beans and strawberries, which were equally as tasty!

Mochi-tsuki
What Japanese traditions would you like to try when you visit Japan? Let us know by following us on Twitter and liking us on Facebook.

About the author:
Fray

Fray lives in Japan and is a Marketing Assistant at Manga UK and Animatsu Entertainment. He is also the editor of the Manga UK blog. For more of his adventures in Japan, follow him on Twitter @FMBurst.

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Akira (the Collector\'s Edition) Triple Play Edition (incl. Blu-ray, Dvd, Digital Copy)

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Iconic and game-changing, Akira is the definitive anime masterpiece! Katsuhiro Otomo’s landmark cyberpunk classic obliterated the boundaries of Japanese animation and forced the world to look into the future. Akira’s arrival shattered traditional thinking, creating space for movies like The Matrix to be dreamed into brutal reality.

Neo-Tokyo, 2019. The city is being rebuilt post World War III when two high school drop outs, Kaneda and Tetsuo stumble across a secret government project to develop a new weapon - telekinetic humans. After Tetsuo is captured by the military and experimented on, he gains psychic abilities and learns about the existence of the project's most powerful subject, Akira. Both dangerous and destructive, Kaneda must take it upon himself to stop both Tetsuo and Akira before things get out of control and the city is destroyed once again. 
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