I’ve been writing about New Year related topic recently, and today, I’ve chosen an article about another New Year related food in Japan, which is mochi or rice cake.
With no doubt, mochi is always the best to try when it’s freshly-made. Some area in Japan still make mochi at home especially at the end of year to make kagami-mochi for the New Year. According to the article I picked for you today, the traditional mochi pounding performance in Erihara region of Ise city, Mie pref. is now in high demand to show their performance as a New Year’s event.
In this mochi making performance of Erihara, two people pound mochi by using one pounder while others sing a song called ‘Jitsuki-uta (or ground pounding song)’. It seems the performance has been handed down since the Tenpo Era (1830-1843)! So, it does have a pretty long history～.
I found a movie of the fast mochi pounding event, so please have a look.
This movie will explain better than words, but to describe how mochi is made in this performance, steamed sticky rice is pounded by keeping the pace with hand claps. At the beginning, staff pound mochi at normal speed, and the speed gradually becomes faster and faster. Just before the sticky rice turned into complete mochi, staff invite audience to join them. What is unusual here is that they actually pound mochi 3 times faster than normal speed, which could reach more than 140 times per minute.
Sounds tough, doesn’t it? Pounding mochi must require a lot of effort, but personally speaking, I am more worried about people who turn over mochi with bare hands… (-_-;)
This year, Erihara fast mochi pounding event offered freshly-made mochi to approx. 300 people at the top of Omu-iwa (means parrot rock) in the region on the New Year’s Day. Also, guests of a hotel in the area enjoyed their mochi pounding performance on the 2nd of January. Again, nice and soft mochi, just made, was served right after the performance with aosa-nori or sea lettuce, which is a specialty of the area, and sweetened soy bean flour.
Actually, I have had mochi at Erihara before, and it was simply so good. I have to say that it was completely different from ones you can buy from supermarket (*^_^*) If there will be any chance you could try freshly-made mochi, please try sometimes. It’s definitely worth trying and I’m sure you’d love it☆
Source: Ise Shima Keizai Shinbun
This is JAPAN Style!