Celebrating the New Year

We are currently taking 3 days off our Tokyo holiday to Hakuba to do a couple of runs on the slopes.  Because it has been snowing all day, the Man took a break from boarding to spend some time with me in the resort.  🙂

IMG_2351 IMG_2354 IMG_2365Our first couple selfie for the year.  Pardon the face without the make-up ;p, we were waiting for our friends to pick us up to witness the mochi (rice-cakes) making ceremony.

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Held at the Sierra Resort in celebration of the New Year, Mochi (餅) is a Japanese rice cake that is traditionally eaten for the Japanese New Year.  The traditional mochi-pounding ceremony in Japan is called the Mochitsuki and I was really quite excited to witness the whole process.

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Traditionally, mochi is made from whole rice.  The cooked rice is pounded with wooden mallets (kine) in a traditional mortar (usu). Two people will alternate the work, one pounding and the other turning and wetting the mochi. They must keep a steady rhythm or they may accidentally injure one another with the heavy kine.

IMG_2375At Sierra Resort, they invite the kids to be part of this process.

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Big kid (aka the Man) also joined in the fun as the owner of the hotel knew we were visitors and thought it would be  interesting for us to be part of the celebrations.  🙂  As you can tell, he obviously had fun pounding the mochi and doing quite a good job at it.

   IMG_2374After all the pounding, the mochi is then kneaded into small rice balls and then rolled in these various ingredients of peanut, black seasame, red bean and black sugar sauce to be enjoyed.  This reminded me of what we typically eat when we celebrate the Winter Solstice – tang yuan – glutinous rice balls with sweet fillings of either red bean, peanuts or black sesame.  IMG_2385

IMG_2386  IMG_2387Tucking in and enjoying the traditional mochi with these toppings.  Pretty yummy and a pretty memorable way to celebrate the New Year here in Japan.  🙂

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